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HOME, SWEET HOME. 



HOME, SWEET HOME 



% 'BM. 



MRS. RIDDELL, 

AtlTHOB OP 
''GEORGE GEITH," "TOO MUCH ALONE," "THE EARL'S PROMISE, 
ETC. 



IN THREE VOLUxMES. 
VOL. II. 




LONDON: 

TINSLEY BROTHERS, 8, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 
1873. 

[^AU rights of Translation and Reproduction are reierved,^ 



LONDON : 

EiLTILL, EDWABDS AKD CO., PBINTEES, CHANBOS 6IBEET, 

COVENT GAEDKN. 



s^r< 



CONTENTS 



THE SECOND VOLUME. 



OHAP. PAGE 

I. WE LEAVE LOVEDALE 1 

II. MADAii Morrison's verdict 24 

III. ilT NEW FRIEND 43 

IV. MT BEREAVEMENT 63 

V. CONCERNING MY FUTURE 85 

VI. WE ARE ALL SATISFIED 115 

VII. A NEW LIFE 140 

VIII. AN OLD FRIEND 167 

IX. OUTFLANKED 202 

X. A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE 237 

XL HERR DROIGEL IS GRIE\1:D 271 

Xn. OUR INVITATION 293 



Home, Sweet Home. 




CHAPTEE I. 

WE LEAVES LOVEDALE. 

sentence passed all day between 
me and my grandmother concern- 
ing Miss WiiForde's visit. That 
lady and she had, so I afterwards ascer- 
tained, been closeted together for fiill half 
an hour before the former appeared at my 
bedside. I know now that in her mag- 
nanimous confession to me of wrong-doing, 
Miss Wifforde shot the last arrow her 
■quiver held ; but not even that arrow 
touched my grandmother's heart. 

She was respectftil. What Motfield had 
ever failed m due respect to a Wifforde 1 

VOL. II. 1 



HOME, SWEET HOME. 



She was sarry — the ties and associations- 
of over sixty years cannot be severed 
without a pang — but when her visitor tried 
to reopen the question of education, so far as. 
it concerned me, Mrs. Motfield stopped her. 

" I have been thuikmg over what you 
said yesterday, ma'am," she began quietly ; 
"and although I have never thought that in 
our station much book-learning was needed 
to fit a girl to be a good wife and mother, 
still no old-fashioned notions of mine shall 
stand between Annie and her education." 

" I am very glad to hear you have arrived 
at that decision," answered Miss Wifforde. 
" Though, mdeed, I expected nothing less 
from so sensible a woman as yourself." 

" But," proceeded my grandmother, un- 
molhfied by this compliment, " the more 
I think about your very kind offer, the less 
I think Annie ought to be allowed to accept 
it, even if she wished to accept it, which I 
am thankful to say she does not " 

" She did wish it up to a certain point," 



IVE LEAVE LOVED ALE. 



interrupted Miss Wifforde. " She left me 
full of pleasure and gratitude one lioui% and 
returned the next, to say she could not 
leave you. Her whole proceeding was so 
strange and ridiculous, that I confess I lost 
my temper, and made some observations 
that I now exceedingly regret, and for 
which I beg to apologise." 

" No need for that, ma'am," replied my 
grandmother ; " only you must let me say 
— hoping no offence — that I think there is 
nothing strange or ridiculous in a girl 
wanting to stay with a person who has 
filled a mother's place to her. I am old 
and homely, I know, Miss Wifforde ; but I 
believe if Annie were a young lady, and 
had thousands a year, she would love me 
all the same." 

Here my grandmother broke down, a 
lump in her throat stopping farther utte- 
rance ; and here came Miss Wifforde's 
opportunity. The likes and dislikes, the 
affections and hatreds of the " lower 

1—2 



HOME, SWEET HOME. 



orders," were matters to whicli she had 
never paid the sHghtest attention ; in 
which, indeed, to put the fact plainly, she 
had very sHght faith. And therefore, 
taking advantage of this momentary weak- 
ness, she harked back to her original posi- 
tion, and commenced once more a fluent 
recital of all the advantages — moral, phy- 
sical, social, and educational — which must 
infallibly ensue from a few years' residence 
at Miss Brundall's select establishment for 
young ladies. 

It was the same story wliich had once 
deceived my grandmother, repeated in a 
different form ; but this time it had no 
power to delude her understanding. 

Well enough she comprehended it was 
from no love of me Miss Wifforde desired 
that advancement, social and moral, of which 
she had spoken. Although my tongue 
failed to reveal the mystery to her, she 
understood that " our ladies" wanted to be 
rid of a girl they considered dangerous. 



WE LEAVE LOVED ALE. 



Poor people are not always so incompre- 
liensive as great folks tliink them. 

They can be, if they choose, demonstra- 
tive to an extent, but they can also be 
obtuse to an equal degree. 

No marvel that Miss Wifforde, who had 
been always accustomed to the cry and 
subservience of the poor who live by beg- 
ging, did not in the smallest degree com- 
prehend the proud humihty, the haughty 
reticence of a nature that, having found 
itself once seduced by specious words, had 
with one effort torn itself free from the 
tempter for ever. 

Very patiently she allowed Miss Wif- 
forde to recite her parable, then she said — • 

" You are very kind, ma'am, a.nd I thank 
you most sincerely ; but if it would do Miss 
Cleeves harm to associate with my grand- 
daughter, it would do harm to the other 
young ladies (like Miss Cleeves) at Miss 
Brundall's ; and I do not want to hurt any 
one. I know, ma'am," she went on, " what 



HOME, SWEET HOME. 



you would say — that Annie there would be 
in a different position to what she is here ; 
but I could not have my child looked upon 
anywhere as a dependent mthout a depen- 
dent's wages." 

" Your views have changed materially 
since yesterday afternoon," remarked Miss 
Wifforde, 

" You did not give me time to think 
yesterday," was the reply. " I did not 
quite understand what it all meant, and I 
was afraid of letting my selfishness spoil 
Annie's future. When she came home last 
night, with her face as white as death, and 
Iier eyes swelled with crying, and told me 
we should have to leave this place, I could 
guess without another word from her 
within a little of what had happened." 

" But you could not seriously imagine 
I meant what I said," exclaimed Miss 
Wifforde. 

There ensued an awkward pause. On the 
one hand, my grandmother had still too 



IVE LEAVE LOVED ALE. 



inucli respect for her visitor to retort that 
she believed Miss Wifforde had uttered 
-every word of her threat m terrible earnest 
st the time it was spoken ; on the other, 
she was not a woman to tell a falsehood in 
the interests of politeness. Accordingly, 
she adopted a third course, and evading 
direct reply, said quietly — 

" At any rate, ma'am, I intend to leave 
this place. When in your goodness you 
and your sister consented to let me end 
my days here, you could never have 
thought that what has come to pass was 
likely. I do not want to be a trouble to 
you, ma'am, or to let Annie be a trouble 
either, and so we will go. It may seem a 
little hard at first to make a new home at 
my time of life, still I am not afraid but 
that what is best for my grandchild I shall 
feel is best for me too." 

Then at last Miss WrSbrde was touched. 
She could not choose to be other than 
affected at the idea of an old woman, who 



HOME, SWEET HOME. 



had lived all her days m Lovedale, growai 
to its soil like a tree, whose memories were 
centred in the place, whose dead lay moul- 
dering in its churchyard, gomg forth to a 
strange place among a strange people, for 
no cause or reason except that a little ghi 
had come between the wind and her 
nobility. 

Almost with tears she implored my 
grandmother to do nothing hastily. With- 
out for a moment attemptmg to conceal 
that Miss Cleeves' partiality for me had 
caused serious annoyance to herself and her 
sister, still she declared they would rather 
the intimacy continued than that Mrs, 
Motfield should leave the neighbourhood. 

" Nothing," she said emphatically, "could 
give me such pain as your gomg away." 
And I believe she only spoke the truth. 
She had a dread of the real cause of our 
departure becoming known. She feared 
the comments which might be made on the 
fact,, that not all her authority had prevailed 



IVE LEAVE LOVED ALE. 



to keep Miss Cleeves from associating with 
the grandchild of old Farmer Motfield. 
She would have given, I doubt not, a 
thousand pounds cheerfully at that moment 
to have been rid of me ; but to be rid of 
me, with the chance of a social exposure of 
the whole of the circumstances supervening, 
was more than her equanimity could en- 
dure. 

The longer she spoke, the more pressing 
she became. She said she would appeal to 
Miss Cleeves' good sense and good feeling. 
She promised to be a friend to me always.. 
She declared she was really fond of me, 
and that my attachment to my grand- 
mother had sensibly touched her. She 
offered that Miss Cleeves' masters should,, 
at her own cost, attend at the cottage to 
give me lessons. She signified her desire 
to present me with a pianoforte. Never 
before had a Wifforde so pleaded to an 
inferior, but she might as well have held 
her peace. 



10 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

My grandmother was, obstinate, after the 
fashion of her age and class. After a 
struggle, in which she had uprooted all 
old associations, all cherished memories, her 
mind was made up as to the expediency of 
leaving Lovedale. 

The happiness of her home was destroyed. 
Could she, at the bidding of this woman 
— Wiiforde though she might be — tell 
Peace to dwell there ever ag-ain ? Her 
feelings had been outraged, her pride 
insulted, her independence attacked. Could 
she forget these things, and, seated at 
her window, look up at the Great House 
calmly and admiringly as before % 

No ; as well might one who, in a fit of 
fury, had torn up the flowers in some fair 
garden, tell the owner to replant the 
withered roots, and make the desert 
blossom agam as of yore. 

She could not recall her threat ; she 
could not unsay her words. In her 
passion she had come down from her 



WE LEAVE LOVEDALE. 11 

pedestal, and in my grandmother's eyes 
she could never occupy it again. 

In the watches of the night, the woman 
she had so bitterly grieved decided there 
was but one course for her to pursue ; and 
having decided, not all the Wiifordes who 
had dwelt at the Great House since time 
immemorial might have altered her determi- 
nation. 

As a last resource, Miss Wifforde be- 
thought herself of making up friends with 
me ; and, confident in her own strength of 
will, my grandmother offered no objection 
to her desire. She only said — 

" I have not yet told Annie that I mean 
to leave Lovedale. Please, ma'am, not 
to mention it." And only too pleased at 
the tidings, Miss Wifforde promised dis- 
cretion. 

Perhaps I was more ill than she expected 
to find me. Perhaps the interview just 
ended had really, as she said, touched her. 
No doubt she was very genuinely sorry for 



12 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

the threat she had used towards me ; at all 
events Miss WifPorde, so far as manner 
went, was tenderness itself. 

" Poor little gii'l," she said, in answer to 
my sentence chronicled at the end of the 
last chapter, " have you been fretting your- 
self about my thoughtless and unkind 
speech \ Child, I would not drive a cat 
from its accustomed hearth ; and do you 
think that, even were it m our power to be 
so cruel — which it is not, for Mrs. Motfield 
had our promise that she should live here 
always — my sister or I would break up the 
home of a person for whom we entertain 
so high an esteem as we do for your grand- 
mother ? Keep yourself quiet, and when 
you are quite well again we will see 
whether we cannot manage to have you 
taught music at all events without leaving 
Lovedale." Then, and she smoothed the 
sheet over me and kissed my forehead and 
patted my shoulder, just as she might if I 
had been about five years of age, " Good- 



WE LEAVE LOVEDALE. 13 

bye, my dear," she finished, " and get rid of 
your headache." 

Then, as she passed out of the room, I 
heard her whisper to my grandmother, 
" You noticed what she said ?" 

" Yes, ma'am," was the stiff reply ; 
*' Annie is very fond of Lovedale." 

That same evening, without my know- 
ledge, a letter was despatched to Mr. Isaac 
Motfield, Parade, Fau-port, which, after 
stating that it left the writer in good 
health — and trusting it would find himself 
and his wife and their children in the 
same — proceeded to set forth his mother's 
desire to have some talk vdth him on busi- 
ness. She did not, in so many words, 
request him to come unaccompanied by 
Mrs. Isaac ; but no one who read the epistle 
could have failed to see that he would be 
more welcome alone than otherwise. 

For which reason, Mr. Isaac Motfield, to 
whom the postman handed this letter across 
the counter, never said a word about it to 



14 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

his wife, but took an opportunity of saying- 
to her, that one of his customers, who was 
going to Uptons, a farm some six miles 
from Lovedale, had offered him a seat, and 
that as there was not much doing, he 
thought he would take the opportunity of 
running over to see his mother. 

" I wish you could have taken Tommy," 
suggested Mrs. Isaac ; " the poor child 
wants a change sadly ; I cannot tliink what 
is the matter with him." 

" He never could walk from Uptons to 
Lovedale," answered her husband. 

" Well, you might tell grandmamma that 
he is very ailing, and perhaps she will ask 
hhn to spend a few days at the cottage," 
said Mrs. Isaac, who considered that life 
could hold no greater pleasm^e for any 
human being than the society of her 
progeny. 

In justice to my uncle, I may here men- 
tion that the facts of Tommy's mdisposition, . 
and that his mother thought a change of 



WE LEAVE LOVEDALE. 15- 

air might prove beneficial, were duly men- 
tioned, without, however, elicitmg the 
desired invitation. 

In truth, my grandmother's mind was at 
the moment occupied by much more im- 
portant matters than Tommy's fit of indi- 
gestion. It was no small resolution she 
had taken ; it was no hght work she was 
about to put in hand. Never shall I forget 
the astonishment depicted in my uncle's- 
face when first she mentioned her intention 
of leaving Lovedale. 

We were seated round the little tea- 
table, which was covered with many 
dainties in honour of our guest. We had 
so few visitors that we did not know how 
to make enough of one when we got him. 
It was a lovely evening, and the windows 
of the Great House seemed all ablaze in the 
light of the setting sun. 

Not a sound broke the stillness. Not a 
cow was lowing or sheep bleating. The 
very pigeons were quiet. Not a creature 



16 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

was stirring on the road, and the general 
silence seemed to have communicated itself 
to us, for we drank our tea and ate our 
toast almost without exchanging a word, 
until my uncle said — 

" Well, mother, and what is this weighty 
business concerning which you wish to talk 
to me ? I suppose Nannie knows all about 
it, as she does about everythuig else T and 
he laughed as he laid his hand on my hair 
and stroked it kindly. 

" Annie knows nothing about it yet," 
she answered ; " but there is no reason why 
she should not be told now. I mean, Isaac, 
to leave Lovedale." 

" Oh, no, grannie," I cried ; " no, no, no." 
Whilst my uncle, about to help himself to 
another portion of cold ham, dropped his 
carving knife and fork with a great clatter, 
and looked at his mother as though" he 
really believed she had lost her senses, 

" Yes, Annie ; yes, Isaac," she said, in 
answer to my remonstrance and his asto- 



li^E LEA VE L O VEDALE. 1 7 

nishment. " Sit down, Annie, and do not 
make yourself ill again." This to me 
specially, for I had risen in my despair 
and stood wringing my hands, and crying 
out, "It is all my fault ; it is all my 
doing." 

" You hear what your grandmother says," 
remarked my uncle. " Be a good girl, and 
do as she bids you. Now, mother," he 
added, " please go on. You took my breath 
away for the moment, but I have got it 
again. What is the English of what you 
said just now V 

" The English is precisely what I said. 
I mean to leave Lovedale." 

" And how long have you come to that 
determination ?' ' 

" Only the night before last ; but I 
wonder I never arrived at it before, seeing 
it is the only thing to do." 

" Why is it the only thing to do ? and 
why is it necessary to do anything T 

" Because Annie and I have agreed not 

VOL. II. 2 



18 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

to part company ; and if she ever is to be 
educated in the way people seem to think 
she ought, it is high time we left Love- 
dale." 

"So it has come to this at last," said my 
uncle, pushing his plate from him, and 
plunging his hands deep into his iDockets, 
whilst I began to exclaim that I never 
wanted to learn anytliing more ; that I 
would rather be a dunce all my life than 
leave Lovedale. 

Across this lamentation my uncle cut 
ruthlessly. 

" Be quiet, Nannie," he said, more sharply 
than I ever remember hearing him speak to 
me before. " This is not a matter for you 
to decide. It is not a question of liking 
or disliking. It is what will be best. 
Mother," he went on, turning to her, with 
a jealous quiver in his voice, " how fond 
you are of this child, fonder than you ever 
were of one of us !" 

" Don't say that, Isaac," she answered ; 



WE LEAVE LOVED ALE. 19 



" remember all I had in those times, while 
now " 

" You have but the one ewe lamb," he 
finished, " and I don't grudge the love you 
bear it." 

" No, you need not," she replied ; "for 
my age would have been very lonely with- 
out Annie. But finish your tea, my son," 
she went on. " And, Annie, when you have 
done yours, run away for half-an-hom\ I 
want to have a quiet talk with your uncle." 

" I cannot eat anything more, grannie, 
thank you," I answered ; and after putting 
my chair back against the wall, as it was 
the rule to do in our methodical and un- 
fashionable abode, I left the room. 

Before I entered it again the business 
on which my grandmother had siunmoned 
her son to Lovedale was finally settled. 

We were to leave the cottage ; we were 
to go to that vague and far-away home 
where my father had died, and which had 
now been vacant for nearly twelve months, 

2—2 



20 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

My uncle was strongly of opinion that, 
considering the circumstances under which 
the Misses Wifforde had first offered his 
mother the free tenancy of our cottage for 
life, it would only be equitable for them to 
allow her to sub-let it, or give her such an 
amount annually, or in a lump sum, as might 
compensate her for its loss. 

" Say what you will," he remarked in 
my hearing, "it is the people at the Great 
House who have brought this change about, 
and it is quite right they should pay for the 
indulgence of their whims, not as a matter 
of favour but of justice, and I shall see Miss 
Wifforde on the subject." 

To this proposal my grandmother made 
no objection. Whatever her feelings may 
have been, she was not a woman to al- 
low sentiment to elbow pinidence out of 
any question she chanced to be consi- 
dering. 

For many years afterwards my own con- 
viction was, that rather than have accepted 



WE LEAVE LOVEDALE. 21 

a shilling from one of the Wiffordes, I would 
have cheerfully begged my bread. 

Experience, however, modifies a vast 
number of convictions that young people 
are apt to tliink unchangeable, and I see no 
reason now to doubt the soundness of my 
uncle's judgment. 

The Misses Wifforde, after vainly at- 
tempting to change the decision at which 
mother and son had arrived, frankly acknow- 
ledged the righteousness of my uncle's claim. 
They would have been more than just — 
generous — had he accepted their first offer; 
but he wanted and would take nothing be- 
yond what he considered fail* ; and so it 
was ultimately settled that the cottage 
should be taken off our hands, that Mrs. 
Motfield should be paid twenty pounds a 
year for life, and that if she wished to dis- 
pose of her small farming-stock by private 
contract, they would take it off her hands 
.at a valuation. 

When all this was arranged, and my 



22 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

uncle about to take his leave, Miss Laura 
WifForde hinted a hope that the reasons 
which had no doubt largely influenced Mrs. 
Motfield's decision would be kept in the 
background. 

" You may rely upon our discretion, 
madam," answered my uncle, who was quick 
enough of apprehension ; and then both of 
our ladies were graciously pleased to thank 
hun. very much, and they condescended to 
offer him a jewelled hand aiDiece, which he 
had no alternative but to take, looking, I 
doubt not, very much confused and ashamed 
the while ; and so he came away, and we 
were discreet to an extent. 

Not from us did any one ever hear the 
true cause of that hurried removal ; not to 
the wife of his bosom did Isaac Motfield 
whisper the real truth ; but yet withm a 
month from the time of our departure the 
whole countryside knew that Widow Mot- 
field had left her cottage because the Misses 
Wifforde could not keep Miss Cleeves and 



WE LEAVE LOVEDALE. 23 

Annie Trenet — Farmer Motfield's grand- 
daughter — apart. 

Miss Cleeves was not long in forming her 
conclusions when she came back to the 
Great House and found the humble nest it 
looked down on empty ; neither was she 
reticent in expressing her opinions on the 
subject. 

No entreaties or commands could tie her 
tongue ; and I have since had reason to 
beheve that the Misses Wifforde would not 
have objected to quadruple the modest 
annuity they paid my grandmother could 
they only have put things as they were 
before, and restored to their cottage its 
former tenant, who was to see Lovedale no 
more. 





CHAPTER II. 

MADAM Morrison's verdict. 

T was all over. The old home was 
empty ; we were trying to get ac- 
customed to the new. 
How other people may feel, I do not 
know ; but to me nothing seems so diffi- 
cult as to break the associations connected 
with, and to forget the memories that have 
gvithered about, a place where one has hved 
for years. 

On unwonted hearths the fires never 
seem to blaze the same welcome as of yore ; 
in unaccustomed rooms the household gods 
look strange and unfamiliar. The attempt 
to make ourselves at home in a new house 
is like trying to gaze with favour on the 
face of one woman, while the heart is sick 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 25 

because of the love it still bears for another. 
So at all events we found the experiment ; 
and though we tried to seem cheerful, I 
know the struggle was at first severe. 

Cowslip's pasture in the trimly fenced 
paddock was richer than she had ever tasted 
at Lovedale, and yet the creature could not 
make herself content, but kept lowing at 
each corner of the field, as though a calf 
had been unjustly abducted from her ; knee- 
deep in straw was our pony's stall, well- 
filled his rack and manger, nevertheless he 
persisted in whinnying for the well-remem- 
bered stable in which his youth was spent ; 
mutely our dog, aged and almost blind, 
would lick our hands at intervals, as though 
in sympathizing recognition of a trouble and 
a change he was too old perfectly to under- 
stand ; whilst Jill went about her work in 
depressed and solemn silence ; and Jack 
whistled no more of those airs for the per- 
formance of which he had once been famous. 

The only creature about the place, biped 



26 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

or quadruped, who seemed perfectly happy, 
was our cat. 

People talk about cats being attached to 
place ; for my own part I do not think 
place is in the smallest degree material to 
them, if they can only lie roasting them- 
selves in front of a good fire, if they have 
an abundant supply of milk, and ample 
opportunities for thieving. Our cat, at all 
events, accommodated herself to circum- 
stances with a sweet serenity. When the 
sun was shining, she basked in his beams ; 
when the wmd blew chilly, she ensconced 
herself beside the best fire, wherever that 
fire happened to be. In the confasion of 
unpacking, numberless chances of annexing 
provisions occurred, and altogether my lady 
waxed fat, and went about in a rich sleek 
coat, whilst all the rest of us were trying 
to reconcile ourselves to the change as best 
we might. 

But, of course, this state of mind could 
not last for ever; and accordingly, after 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 27 

a time, we ceased to tliiiik so much of 
the picturesque beauty of the Love, and 
addressed ourselves to consider the calm 
sweetness of the stream that strayed 
through the village where we had made our 
new home. In my heart I believe my 
grandmother really compassed more enjoy- 
ment of life in that village than she ever 
did in the dear cottage we had left, and to 
this hour it comforts me to think so. 

At Little Alford she was somebody : at 
Lovedale she was at best Farmer Motfield's 
widow, an appenage of the Great House. 
At Little Alford she was m some sort a 
relative of the (reputedly) rich old lady 
who had lived, for forty years, or there- 
abouts, in the house, we took to, covered all 
over with ivy and roses and wisteria and 
magnolia 

And it would be vain to deny that my 
grandmother liked and appreciated this 
consideration. Never in my memory had 
she exhibited herself in such spruce attire. 



28 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

in such snowy white caps and belongings, 
in such preternaturally black dresses. 

She visited, and she received visitors ; 
she left more of the domestic management 
to Jill than I could have imagined consis- 
tent with her ideas of economy ; she still 
rose early, but not so early as formerly ; 
she still looked closely after household 
affairs, but they did not bound the whole 
of her horizon, as had been the case at 
Lovedale. 

In her old age she took the recreation of 
which her younger and middle life had been 
so destitute. Is there no enjoyment, do 
you imagine, ye juveniles, for those whose 
cheeks are worn and furrowed ? On the 
contrary, with competent means and modest 
wishes, that, it seems to me, is the happiest 
life-period of all. It is babyhood without 
its helplessness ; youth without its restless 
aspirations. The ceaseless cares and the 
desperate struggles of an olden stage are 
past and forgotten, like the memory of a 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 20 

tempest on the sea. Over smooth waters 
the storm-tossed vessel glides peacefully 
into the last port she shall ever enter ; and 
let the first part of the voyage have been 
what it liked, the latter is calm and 
pleasant. 

It was so with my grandmother, at all 
events, God be thanked ! There came a 
time when we could talk of Lovedale to 
each other without a break in our voices ; 
there came a time when, other interests 
supervening, we rarely spoke of Lovedale at 
all. 

At first I seldom went to sleep without 
being awakened by the dream-sound of 
plashing water and cawing rooks ; but 
eventually even that link between me and 
my past broke altogether. 

Yes ; we were both very happy at Alford. 
By the time Cowslip had settled to her 
pasture, and our pony become reconciled to 
his stall, we were at home in our new abode. 
It was a larger house than that just left ; 



30 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

but our ideas had grown also. Even al- 
though it was all her own doing, had my 
grandmother lamented over Lovedale, after 
she had left the place, a shadow of sorrow 
must have rested upon me. As it is, I 
shall never tliink of those latter years save 
as yeai'S of pleasantness. I can never feel 
other than grateful for the sort of warning 
I received not to separate my lot from hers. 
Apart we were in some things, apart 
far as the Poles ; but then, which two 
amongst us, friends, are quite of one mind ? 
On tliis, however, we were agreed — we 
loved each other mth a love deep, lasting, 
unselfish ; and how much of my grand- 
mother's new serenity was due to the plea- 
sant society of Alford, and how much to 
the fact which was gradually dawning upon 
her understanding, that I should not even- 
tually have to be a comparative pauper if 
I did not secure an ehgible parti, I shall 
never comprehend thoroughly here. All I 
know is, she seemed a different woman. 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 31 

After a time she not merely tolerated the 
sound of a secondhand piano, with which a 
judicious professor had furnished me, re- 
serving to himself the usual commission, 
but actually grew to like its tones. 

She never complained of the hours I 
devoted to practice, of the mode in which I 
pored over French verbs and essayed to 
make acquaintance with the sweet Italian 
tongue. 

At Great Alford, two miles distant from 
our home, there was a school as famous in 
its way as that of the Misses Brundall, and 
thither three days a week, blow high, blow 
low, sunshine, rain, snow, or hail, I trudged 
regularly. Two miles— what was that to a 
girl of my habits ? Two miles along lanes 
overarched by elm-trees ; two miles be- 
tween hedges laden with cob-nuts ; two 
miles along white frosty roads ; two miles 
with yellow primroses and budding thorn 
marking the way. Stories had I of my 
schoolfellows to bring back to our new 



32 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

abode ; something always to report of what 
I had seen on the road to and from Great 
Alford. It was altogether a new, but to us 
a picturesque and pleasant life ; full, in a 
small way, of people, and interest and inci- 
dent. The greatest trouble I knew was 
that my voice grew suddenly weak, and \ 
was counselled not to attempt to sing much 
at a time. 

" Miss Trenet is growing fast, and she is 
dehcate," remarked the lady who taught 
Do-Re-Mi to such pupils at Alford House as 
paid extra for the attention ; " and in con- 
sequence her vocal organs are not strong." 

Considering that I was extremely short 
for my age, and that I scarcely knew the 
meaning of ache or pain, Madam Morrison's 
conclusions may safely have been declared 
drawn from insufficient premises. 

Indeed, she knew as little about physio- 
logy as about music, w^iich is saying a 
great deal. 

All this happened many, many months 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 33 

after our removal to Alford, With that 
reticence which belongs, I think, to the 
possession of any gift, I was chary of say- 
ing I could sing. 

Authors, as a rule, keep the secret of 
their first book as carefully as a girl does 
that of her first love — and in hke manner 
it was a trial to me to speak of my gift at 

The world has since acknowledged I had 
a, gift ; and therefore I may now speak of 
the matter with the same want of reticence 
as obtains in biographies ; but I felt diffi- 
dent and modest about the matter then, 
:and had a reluctance to show my treasure. 

For which reason many months elapsed 
after we left Lovedale before the question 
of my having or not having a voice was 
raised at Alford House. And the way in 
which it came to be raised at all was this : 
Uncle Isaac, in one of his pleasant letters, 
said — 

" I am glad to hear Nannie gets on so 

VOL. II. 3 



Si HOME, SWEET HOME. 

well in French, but you say nothing about 
her sing-inpv How is this ?" 

How, indeed ! I had been glad enough 
to put that matter on one side, whilst my 
grandmother certainly could have wished it 
forgotten for ever. 

But she entertained a certain respect for 
her son's opinion, and remarked conse- 
quently — 

" Annie, you had better speak to Madam 
Morrison." And I did. 

I told the principal of Alford House, with 
many blushes, that if I had a talent for 
singing, my friends wished me to cultivate 
it, and she repeating this statement to 
Madam Morrison, I was invited to sing- 
something for the lady. 

Never worse in my life did I sing ; I can 
state that fact positively ; and it did not 
therefore in the least surjDrise me to hear 
Madam Morrison simper — 

"A sweet voice, without much compass."" 
And then Mrs. Mitchell looked 9.t me 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 35 

blandly through, her double eye-glasses — I 
always notice how fond respectable and 
dull-brained women are of mediocrity — 
whilst I, turning hot and cold, and red and 
white, in the same moment of time, and 
remembering how my song had once pos- 
sessed power enough to compel the very- 
linnets to stop and hsten, was obhged to 
hold my peace, and look in silence at the 
light-haired idiotic woman, whose singing 
made me sick, and whose stupid incompe- 
tency I hated with an intensity worthy of a 
better cause. 

I had been day pupil for a considerable 
time at Alford House when this httle scene 
took place, and I had learned m the time to 
understand tolerably accurately the extent 
of Madam Morrison's musical knowledge, 
and the value of her critical opinion — still 
the faint praise with which she damned my 
vocal powers mortified me bitterly. 

The praise of a vdse man may fail to give 
pleasure, but the censure even of a fool 

3—2 



36 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

never fails to cause pain ; and as I walked 
back to Little Alford I felt that this world 
was not a nice place in which to hve, and 
that Mrs. Mitchell's select establishment 
was an especially disagreeable corner of it. 

All in vain I tried to console my self- 
love, and flatter it back into confidence 
again. 

All in vain I recalled the bitter cold of 
that immense room ; the out-of-tune con- 
dition of the grand piano, on which Madam 
persisted in playing an accompaniment, and 
playing it all wrong ; my own excited and 
nervous state of mind : my soul refused to 
be comforted. 

In fancy I heard again the weak, reedy 
tones of my own voice ; I had failed sig- 
nally, and I could not help mourning bit- 
terly, as I thought over my fiasco. It 
seemed as terrible a matter to me as some 
great loss does to a merchant, or a scathing 
criticism to an author. I knew then, in my 
heart of hearts, that I had been proud of 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 37 

. » 

my voice — that I had been silently and 
secretly cherishing an idea of one day be- 
coming a great singer. I understood sud- 
denly precisely what I had long desired ; 
and I comprehended at the same time why 
I never dared to give expression to that 
desire even to myself. I had wanted to 
use my own talent, although the force of 
surroundmg circumstances kept it hitherto 
hidden away ; and now, when there seemed 
a hope of my wish being gratified, I was 
told there was no talent to put out at 
usury. 

Practically, that was the opinion Madam 
Morrison expressed ; and though I did not 
believe in her judgment, still my faith in 
my own powers was so shaken, that I 
walked on humbled in spirit and sad at 
heart. 

" Whither away, Miss Annie T said some 
one close behind me, when I had worked 
myself up into a very paroxysm of despair. 
" See what it is to be young ; I am ahnost 



38 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

out of breath trying to overtake yon ;" and 
the doctor of Little Alford, one of the 
pleasantest and dearest of old bachelors, 
shook hands with me ; and then, looking 
sharply into my face, said — 

" Been in disgrace, eh T 

" No, sir," I answered. 

"Then what is the matter? what have 
yon been fretting about ? If you spoil your 
eyes now, you will never be able to read 
without glasses when you come to be my 
age. That is right ; I like to see you 
laugh. Now tell me what the trouble was. " 

I could not resist his kindly tones, his 
bright cheerful face, and told him my 
trouble, which seemed to become insignifi- 
cantly small when laid out in words. 

" Got no voice, Miss Annie, or next to 
none," he repeated, briskly ; " that may be 
or may not be ; at all events, we wont accept 
Madam's judgment as final. And so, you 
little puss, spite of your quiet demm-eness, 
you have been fancying you might some 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 39 

day become a second Cataliiii ? Well, we 
have our dreams. When I was a young 
fellow studying medicme, I made up my 
mind I would be Court Physician, and the 
greatest man in my profession ; and yet, 
you see, I am happy enough now, though 
only a country doctor, bound to hsten pa- 
tiently to the account of every old woman's 
ailments. But we wont despair of the voice, 
or of your being a great singer yet. By 
the way, how does it happen, if you are so 
given to carolling, that I have never heard 
you lift up your voice ; no, not even in 
church ?" 

"I do not think my grandmother — that 
is — I mean, she may be afraid ^" 

" Afraid that the bird may not be con- 
tent to stay all its life in a cage," he said, 
helping me out. " Well, there is some- 
thing of wisdom in her notion. We will 
have a Httle more chat on this subject 
^gain. Meantime, don't spoil your eyes. 
Come over and see us, as often as the 



40 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

French verbs and exercises leave sufficient 
leisure. My sister is always glad to have 
you. She says you are a good, quiet little 
gud ; for my own part, after the revelation 
I have heard to-day, I am inclined to think 
you a small but very grievous hypocrite. 
Yes, you may laugh, but it is true. Good- 
bye, my embryo 'prima donna. I shall come 
to your benefit ; remember that." 

And he went on his way across the vil- 
lage green, whilst I turned into our home 
and told my grandmother what Madam 
Morrison had said. 

"It is very odd," she remarked; but a 
sigh of relief escaped her even as she spoke. 
Almost unconsciously she had feared that, 
if I really possessed the gift of song, I might 
one day endeavour to turn it to account. 

She would not have cared about my be- 
coming a governess or a companion, or any- 
thing of that nature befitting my station 
and sex ; but the very idea of my ever 
singing in public was a misery to her. 



MADAM MORRISON'S VERDICT. 41 

Of course, if I had no voice to speak 
about, that danger might be considered 
past. She would not mind my taking 
lessons, if it were impossible for me to make 
an improper use of the knowledge thus 
acquired. In her heart I believe she blessed 
Madam Morrison. She had never seen that 
lady, but as she was a teacher of singing, of 
course she must know whether or not I had 
any capabilities. 

That was a happy evening for my grand- 
mother, but she took care to conceal her 
exultation from me, as I took care to hide 
my disappointment from her. 

With the first streak of daylight next 
morning I was out of bed. Before I fell 
asleep on the previous night, I had made 
up my mind as to what I should do ; and 
accordingly before breakfast I walked a 
long way off, to a very solitary spot well 
known to me, where were no houses and no 
people. 

There to myself, no one listening, I sung 



42 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

my trial song ; there, through the clear 
bright frosty air, I let my voice go free. I 
could still sing ; I was satisfied. I did not 
care now for Madam Morrison, or Madam 
Anybodyelse ; and I walked back to Little 
Alford as one might who treads enchanted 
ground. 





CHAPTER III. 

MY NEW FRIEND. 

N evening in the golden summer- tide; 
that is the time. A long low room 
with French windows opening into 
a large garden ; that is the place. A lady, 
two gentlemen, and myself; these are the 
actors ; and the question under considera- 
tion is an interesting one to me. 

It may be summed up in the words Dr. 
Packman has just addressed to his \dsitor, 
of whom I shall have more to say presently. 

" Well, Droigel, was I right or was I 
wrong ? Has our small friend a voice ? can 
she sing 1" 

Herr Droigel, a large man, with an im- 
mense acreage of fat cheek, on which not 
even a vestige of whisker could have been 



44 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

discovered, first looked at me witli slow 
blue unwinking critical eyes, and then 
turned his gaze on Dr. Packman. 

" Miss has a voice, and Miss can sing," 
he answered, in solemn tones that impHed 
more than they actually said. 

*' Bravo !" cried the Doctor. " Did not I 
say so, Dorothy ?" (This to his sister.) 
" Did not I say, that bitterly cold afternoon, 
when, as I told you, I overtook Miss Annie, 
who had been crying, I believed there was 
something in our little neighbour ?" 

" Yes, Decimus, you did," agreed Miss 
Packman, who, like her brother, was a 
charming member of society. I thought so 
then. I have seen nothing in society to 
make me change my opinion since. 

Very calmly Herr Droigel waited till 
brother and sister had finished their little 
duet, when he resumed, as though his pre- 
vious sentence had been left incomplete. 

" But Miss will never make one grand 
success." 



MV NEIV FRIEND. 45 

" And why not, pray T inquired the 
Doctor. 

" Why not ! you ask, why not ! and you 
a Doctor ! Look — see — judge for yourself. " 

And he pointed an immense forefinger at 
my unfortunate person. 

" Well," said Dr. Packman, " I look, I 
see, and I judge for myself. Why should 
she not be successful ?" 

" Stop, stop, my friend !" cried Herr 
Droigel. He pronounced stop " stope ;" but 
as no form of spelling could ever indicate 
his accent, I prefer translating his speech 
into English. " You run on too fast ; you 
are so fall of — what you call it ? — mercury. 
You pick me up half way. I did not say 
Miss would not be successfiil ; on the con- 
trary, I only told you she would not be one 
great success." 

" Do you mean that she is not tall 
enough ?" asked the Doctor, bewildered by 
distinctions that seemed to him to be with- 
out a difference. " She has plenty of time 



46 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

before her, and may develop for aught we 
can tell into a Siddons, as regards figure." 

" Develop, ]3ah !" repeated the German, 
with an expression of intense disgust. 
" You may grov/ high, so much" (indicating 
something seven feet or thereabouts), " and 
you may grow stout, so — like me" (spread- 
ing out his arms until a fearful physical 
diameter was suggested) ; " but can you 
alter this ?" and he tapped his head, " or 
this ?" and he laid his hand affectionately on 
his heart. " There is the artiste mmd, 
there is the artiste body ; mind or body, 
can you discover the artiste in this young 
lady with the divine voice V 

" Artiste fiddle-de-dee !" exclaimed the 
Doctor, contemptuously. 

" I beg your pardon," said the other, 
pursuing his subject calmly, as though he 
were dehvering a lecture ; " it is not fiddle- 
de-dee ; it is fact. Of some j)eople in this 
world friends say they will plod along ; 
they may earn, as your charming adage 



MV NEW FRIEND. 4^7 

has it, ' salt to their bread,' but no butter — 
no, no, no, not one scrape of butter ; and 
yet in a few years they have climbed the 
tree of fame ; they are able to shake down 
apples for the less fortunate to pick up. Of 
others, friends say, ' Oh, they will make one 
coup ; wherever they open the page, His- 
tory will place her mark.' And what hap- 
pens ? you ask. Ach, himmel !" with an 
ineffable shrug. " No coup comes, but a 
tumble, and History forgets to mark the 
page where their names are not recorded. 
Now, Doctor, attend ; now, Miss Annie, 
please to hsten to an old man, an old man 
who has heard, oh, so many Miss Annies 
smg then- Httle songs. If Miss Annie had 
the presence of a Cleopatra, if she had the 
genius of a Rachel, the grace and beauty 
of Grisi, the voice of an angel, she would 
never make one grand success. She will 
make, I trust, what is much better — ^herself 
a very happy woman. Some are born to be 
happy, and some to be great. For me, I 



48 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

think it is best for a woman to be happy, 
and not great. Oftentimes I say to my 
Gretchen, * Mein Gott, how I thank Thee 
this child has no gift !' Sometimes I am 
forced to think Gretchen is less satisfied 
with the arrangements of Heaven than her 
father," he added reflectively, droppmg his 
huge body into the furthermost recesses of 
an easy-chair. 

" But, Herr Droigel," I said, speaking 
for the first time in my own interest, blush- 
ing scarlet as I did so, and feehng the hot 
blood tinghng to my fingers' ends, " if I 
have a voice, and try to make the best of 
it, why should I not have a chance like 
others T 

" Because, my goot child, you are not 
like others ; because you could never come 
to me and say, ' I have one father and one 
mother ; I have sisters, I have brothers. 
I have said good-bye to them all ; I mean 
to make one great success. When I have 
made it, I will remember father and mother. 



M Y NE W FRIEND. 49 

brothers and sisters ; but till then Art is 
my father and mother, my home, my sisters, 
my brothers.' Look, Doctor Packman," he 
added, rising suddenly and turning me to- 
wards the hght ; "is that the brow of a 
woman who shall find her happiness before 
the scenes ? Should you wish those eyes 
ever from the footlights to scan the gal- 
leries ? Can you vision to your own 
imagining this child painted — powdered ? 
Pah ! Let us go into your churchyard 
and dig a pit, and bury her deep and safe, 
before such misery come to pass. And yet 
what a voice she has ! — sing again once 
more." 

There is a little Irish aii', not so much 
known as it deserves, called, " Cuslila ma 
chree." 

In my very childish days I had heard 
it crooned by the wife of a man who came 
from the sister isle to seek work at the 
Great House. 

She had a sickly infant, and in the noon- 

VOL. II. 4 



50 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

tide heat we let her sit under the shade 
of our elder-tree, and gave her food and 
drink ; and often afterwards, during that 
harvest time, she begged leave, in her soft 
sweet tongue, to rest awhile, praying a 
blessing on my grandmother for her good- 
ness. 

Thus it came to pass I learned to hum 
the air with which she hushed her baby. 
Subsequently I found in an old book words 
that some unknown poet had wedded to 
the music, and it was this song I essayed 
when the Professor bade me sing for him 
once more. 

I was nervous no longer. I threw my 
soul into the melody. Like everything else 
I had ever learned from ear, I could sing 
it with all the tenderness and feehng I 
was at that time capable of expressing. 
As I went on, there mixed with the story 
of the love song a vision of Lovedale — of 
the old forsaken home — of the days that 
could never come back. For the moment 



MV NEW FRIEND. 51 

I was again looking on the familiar scenes 
— the elder-tree cast a shadow over the 
woman, her child, and myself — it was she 
who was singing, not I — and then it ended, 
and some one spoke. 

" Yon shall be one ballad-singer," the 
German said, rising and addressing me in 
^ frenzy of broken Enghsh. " I will take 
you — I "\^dll teach you — I will perfect 
that voice. You shall give yourself to 
me. Yes, I, Droigel, will jDresent you 
to the world. You shall go with me to 
London " 

*' No, oh no !" I interrupted. 

"And wherefore 'oh no ?' Am I a monster ? 
am I, as you say, hobegobehn ? do you 
think I want to make one meal of you, 
Miss Annie ? My dear, if you mean to 
do good mth yourself, you must do what 
I tell you. It is one thing to sing pretty 
and small and nice, to two, three people 
in a little parlour, and quite another to 
stand up, and with your o^ti voice alone 

4—3 



52 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

to fill one hall as much bigger as your 
church as I am as you." 

" But I do not want to stand up and 
sing in a large hall," I began. 

" Then why did my good friend Dr. 
Packman say to me, ' When next you 
come down to catch our trouts, there is 
one 



A look from the Doctor arrested Herr 
Droigel at this point, and an awkward 
silence would have ensued but for Miss 
Packman, who said — 

" I think what Annie wants is to take a 
few lessons here." 

" A few lessons here !" repeated the Pro- 
fessor, lifting hands and eyes to heaven. 
" Mein Gott ! what will she want next ? 
and who is to give those few lessons ? That 
clever man who taught her to play the 
piano perhaps — taught her so !" and he went 
to the instrument and mimicked my per- 
formance, while Dr. Packman shouted with 
lausfhter and I could have cried mth rao^e. 



MV NEIV FRIEND. 



" Or, perhaps," proceeded Herr Droigel, 
^' that skeleton woman yon were so good 
as to ask here once to spend one evening — 
I remember her. I have not forgotten — 
no ;" and he spread out his wide coat-tails, 
curved his wrists well over the instrument, 
and after sounding a few chords, touching 
the notes as though they were hot, and 
burnt him, he began in a falsetto, which 
seemed doubly absurd emanating from such 
a mountam of flesh, so admirable an imita- 
tion of Madam Morrison's thready soprano, 
that the tears I had been keeping back 
on my own account, filled my eyes while 
laughing at the ridicule thus cast on her. 

It is not easy, we all know, to be per- 
fectly good-humoured when a snowball, 
judiciously aimed at the back of one's neck, 
makes a channel for its trickling stream 
between one's shoulder-blade and spinal 
column. Nevertheless, with what equani- 
mity, not to say pleasure, we behold another 
bearing the same infliction. 



54 HOME, SWEET HOME, 

" If not, then," suddenly resumed Herr 
Droigel, stopping his musical performances 
and taking up the ai'gument after his 
German fashion precisely at the point where 
he had left it off — " if not, then, the clever 
pianist or the sylph-like madam, who re- 
mains to teach Miss Annie ? Who is there 
to give those ' few lessons' your charming 
sister thinks it only needs to perfect the 
song of our young lady ?" 

" We will consider and talk over the 
matter," said the Doctor, in a curiously 
absent manner. " Meantime, what do you 
say to a cigar ?" 

" I say no," was the reply. " To a pipe 
among the roses, if Miss Packman thinks 
I can be of any service in killing her green 
flies, I say yes ;" and accordingly they both 
produced their pipes, and walked into the 
garden, where I saw them smoking gravely 
and talking earnestly for a full hour, whilst 
Miss Packman industriously braided a velvet 
cap she meant to present to the Professor, 



AfV NEW FRIEND. 



and I grounded a pair of slipjoers it was 
her intention should at some future period 
adorn her brother's remarkably small feet. 

According to our sexes, I consider we 
were all usefidly and gracefiilly occupied. 

When the gentlemen had finished their 
pipes and their conversation, it was time 
for me to tidily fold up my work and take 
my departure, Herr Droigel gallantly 
offered to see me safe across the green, and 
although I felt in his company like a cockle- 
shell boat in the wake of a seventy-four, 
still I was grateful to the large gentleman 
for his kindness, and tried to behave myself, 
as the nurses say, " prettily." 

But he was in no mood for prettiness of 
behaviour. From some cause which I 
could not in the sHghtest degree under- 
stand, he seemed to be immensely in 
earnest, and the moment we were outside 
the gate, commenced impressing upon me 
the importance of playing no tricks with 
my voice. 



66 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" There is no one here who could teach 
you what would be good," he said ; " and 
so our very good friend the Doctor and I 
have agreed you had better not learn at all. 
He tells me in his opinion you might be a 
degree stronger ; do not sing much till you 
rise that degree ; do not work too hard, you 
have years and years and years before you 
in which to work ; but just now your first 
business is to be a Httle humming-bee, 
gathering honey, that is health. Wlien 
you have laid in a good stock of that, then 
you shall sing ; but do not sing, no not 
much now. You live, our dear Doctor says, 
with a grandmother — oh, so charming ! — 
who loves you so much, whom you love so 
much. That is good ; always love your 
grandmother, I had a grandmother once, 
whom I loved. I shall come and pay my 
respects to that delightful lady to-morrow, 
if she permit. Goot-night, Miss Annie. 
God bless you ! " And he took my hand 
and held it in his immense palm a moment. 



MV NEW FRIEND. 67 

"God bless you!" he repeated, and 
dropped my hand ; and went away across 
the green, but not in the direction of the 
Doctor's house. 

It is not an easy matter for any person, 
more especially for a young person, to 
repeat comphments that have, more or less 
judiciously, been paid during the course of 
an evening visit ; and therefore all I had 
to tell my grandmother seemed to please 
her well. Herr Droigel counselled my 
singing little, and having no lessons at all. 

Hearing this she said — 

" You are not disappointed, Annie?" 

"No," was my answer, "not at all." 
But nke a httle Jesuit I kept my reasons 
for not feehng disappointed to myself. 
Already I had learned the lesson that 
perfect frankness does not always add to 
the happiness and contentment of those 
with whom our lot is cast. 

That night I slept in fairyland ; the 
dreams of my Hfe became in sleep its 



68 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

realities ; and when I awoke they seemed 
almost reahties still. 

Bright grew my Hfe, brighter and brighter 
as the weeks rolled on — for that dear 
Professor not merely threw out hints for 
my guidance while he stayed at Alford, but 
kept up a correspondence with me after his 
return to London, sending me now a few 
exercises written in the neatest of cah- 
graphy, now a morsel of his own compo- 
sition, sometimes a very simple song — 
"suited to my years and abihties " — more 
frequently a chant or hymn. 

His letters were a delight to my grand- 
mother. I am afraid he was a dreadful 
hypocrite, and wrote them with a view of 
pleasing her. He knew great people, and 
spoke of them and their doings with a 
covert satire wliich induced her to think — ■ 
ah, how mistaken she was ! — that he de- 
spised and dishked the fashionable world. 
He attended vast assembhes, and sent 
accounts of them to us more graphic than 



MY NEW FRIEND. 69 

anything we ever read in the few papers 
that fell in our way. 

And so the autumn passed, and winter 
came and went, and spring smiled on the 
earth once more, and summer was at hand 
again; and one Sunday evening, after we 
had returned from church (there was no 
chapel at Alford, and my grandmother, not 
being able to walk so far as formerly, and, 
farther, having made close acquaintance 
with the curate, had arrived at the con- 
clusion that, so long as she heard the 
Gospel of Christ preached, it did not matter 
where she knelt in prayer), I sat at the 
piano, trymg, before it passed out of my 
memory, to reproduce a new tune I had 
heard that night adapted to the words, 
" Nearer, my God, to Thee." After a- 
short time I succeeded in picking out the 
melody, and then, improvising an accom- 
paniment, I sang the hymn straight through. 

" That is nice, grannie, is it not V I said^ 
when I ended. 



€0 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

She made no answer. 

It was nothing unusual for her to fall 
asleep whilst I sang, so rising from the 
instrument, and walking quietly to one of 
the windows, I looked out across the green, 
which the moon was flooding with an almost 
unearthly light. 

All at once the profound silence of the 
room struck me with a sort of horror, and 
hoping she would soon awaken, I turned 
towards the sleeper. Something in her 
attitude reminded me of that night when, 
coming from the Great House, I made up 
my mind I could never leave her. 

Just as it had done then, her head leaned 
back against the chair, showing the thin 
worn cheeks, the lines of care, the marks 
traced by time and sorrow. Just as then, 
her hand hung over the arm Hstlessly, 
seeming almost powerless ; but there was 
something more than this, or else the pale 
moonbeams faUing across her face deceived 



MV NEW FRIEND. 61 

me — something I had never seen before in 
any face. 

" Grannie !" I said. 

There came no reply. 

" Grannie !" I repeated louder. 

She would not waken. In an access of 
terror I threw my arms around her, but 
there was no answering caress. 

What happened next ? When help came, 
I found myself standing in the middle 
of the carpet with the bell-rope in my 
hand. 

After that there was an interval, when I 
felt as though I had fallen down a cliff and 
stunned myself, and was slowly recovering* 
my senses. Then I heard people talking, 
and have a faint memory of being led out 
of the room and the house ; of passionately 
resisting the strength of some one stronger 
than I ; of being compelled to swallow 
something ; of sinking into a deep sleep, 
and waking up suddenly with a pang, in a 



62 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

strange bed in a strange house ; of crying 
out, " Where am I ? Where am I ? What 
has happened T of hearing a voice broken 
by sobs answer, " Oh, my dear !" and then 
I understood. 

I gave no one any trouble after that ; I 
turned my face to the wall, comprehending 
what had come to pass ; and though it was 
in another house, I lay alone till morning 
with my dead. 




CHAPTER IV. 

MY BEREAVEMENT. 



matter how much people may differ 
in temperament and constitution, 
there is, I fancy, a wonderful 
similarity in the manner in which they 
spend the first twenty-four hours after some 
one near and dear has been taken from them. 
Of course there are deaths and deaths. 
The miser crawls unwillingly from out his 
money-bags, and quits a world he has helped 
to cumber, leaving no one to lament his de- 
parture. The prodigal who comes after him 
dies ; and liis boon companions flee from 
the sight of a fate they would fain forget 
overtakes all who are born of woman. 
There is the death waited for by paid nurses, 
certified by the regular medical attendant, 



64 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

announced to the world generally in the 
obituary column, and to passers-by particu- 
larly, by closely-drawn blinds. There is 
the long-expected death, which has not 
come by years so soon as it might ; when 
the dinner-bell rings just the same as usual, 
and the inhabitants of the mansion eat and 
drink, and talk, and sleep, as they did 
before ; for the actual death which has come 
seems to them almost less terrible than the 
mockery of life, that for so long fought in a 
lonely upper chamber to preserve its own 
wretched existence. There are deaths 
which, even in the first hours that follow, 
survivors cannot reo-ard other than as a 
relief and a blessing. 

But these are the exceptions ; taking it 
as a rule, death deals a very hard blow to 
the survivors. They may recover from it 
soon, or bear traces of it to their graves ; 
they may weep over theii' loss passionately, 
or go about the usual affairs of life with dry 
eyes and stern set faces ; or they may ^^Tap 



MY BE RE A VEMENT. 



themselves up in a wordless anguish, to 
which God in His own good time alone can 
bring comfort. Still, with all these diffe- 
rences, no matter how the rue may be 
worn, the experience of the first twenty- 
four hours is the same to most people. 

There is the shock of bereavement ; 
whether sudden or long expected, matters 
less than is generally supposed ; whether it 
comes " so soon" or " at last" makes little 
or no difference in the mystery at length 
revealed. To that shock follows the numbed 
increduhty of non-comprehension, a stupid, 
stubborn refusal to beheve the worst, and 
then forgetfulness brought on by physical 
and mental exhaustion ; to which, in due 
time, succeeds the worst trial of all — the 
waking to daylight, to memory, to sorrow. 

One gone who may never return ; one 
set sail across that ocean, the tide whereof 
is always ebbmg, never flowing ; one 
departed from the old home, who may 
not re-enter its portals ; one less in the 

VOL. II. 5 



66 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

world, who was all the world to some loving 
heart ; one passed forth solitary on the dark 
lonely journey ; a voice silenced, eyes closed, 
heart stilled, pulses quiet. 

And the birds sing, and the sun shines, 
and the flowers bloom, and the leaves dance 
in the morning breeze ; and the mourner 
rises to look forth upon the earth, which 
can never again seem quite the same earth 
as it did before the curse was thus made 
visible. 

It had come. That wolf, whose gaunt 
wicked apparition I conjured up one morn- 
ing in the old garden at Lovedale, had come 
when I least expected to see him, when 
nothing was farther from my thoughts than 
sorrow, or sickness, or death, and carried 
off all I loved in the world, all I had in the 
world to love me. 

When I woke from the sleep which 
towards morning visited me, I felt like a 
bankrupt in earthly hope and earthly affec- 
tion. She was gone — no family Bible, no 



MV BEREA VEMENT. 67 

moss-grown tombstone, no average of three- 
score-and-ten or three-score-and-anytliing 
could give me comfort again ; one moment 
slie was with me, the next she had departed. 

In an early chapter I said I tried her as 
a duckling might a hen, and she tried me 
as a hen might a duckling ; nevertheless, 
the hen supphes a mother's place to the 
duckling, and grannie, dear dead grannie, 
had supplied that place to me. 

I dressed myself in haste. Mine was a 
terrible face to see, as I caught sight of it 
in the glass, and I shrunk from its reflec- 
tion as one instinctively retreats from some- 
thing painful and unlovely — dishevelled 
hair, cheeks pale, with a crimson spot on 
the top of each, eyes sunken with weeping, 
lids swollen from the same cause; a contrast, 
I wot, to the white quiet face lying up- 
turned in our cottage, that I meant never to 
leave more till the coflin-Hd closed over it. 

Like one committing a crime, I stole 
from the house of those friends who had — 

5—2 



HOME, SWEET HOME. 



meaning to be very kind — brought me away 
from her. 

Not to seem ungratefiil, I left a Hne on 
the dressing-table — telling them I must 
" go back to grannie " was, I have since 
understood, the formula used — and this 
done I made my way into the open air, 
and speeding across the village green, soon 
reached our cottage, where Jack was milking 
Cowslif) as if nothing special had occurred, 
and Jill was sitting before a newly-kindled 
fire in the kitchen, weeping fit to break her 
heart, mth her apron throwai over her head. 

" Betty" — that was the name of the then 
Jill of our establishment—" Oh, Betty !" I 
said ; and then we sat down hand in hand, 
and cried together. Jill had lost a kind 
mistress, and I the only mother I could 
remember. 

Dr. Packman and his sister were very 
good to me at this juncture ; they let me 
remain with the dead ; and although Miss 
Packman spent most part of the days which 



MY BEREAVEMENT. 69 

succeeded at the cottage, she did not insist 
on bringing her bag and baggage also, and 
cumbering me and Jill in the first access of 
our grief with a visitor. 

Betty and I had much of each other's 
company at that crisis, and were the better 
for it. She brought a mattress into my 
room and slept there, and was ready with 
her tears when she heard me sobbmg in the 
niofht. 

There was no bitterness about my grief 
If I had not done all for the dead that I 
might — and whose actions will in his own 
sight bear weighing in the scales at that 
supreme moment ? — at all events I had been 
a comfort to grannie, and she loved me. 
The tune spent at Alford had been a season 
■of uninterrupted peace and happiness— at 
least, so it seemed to me ; but I did not 
know, as I lay awake at night thinking over 
it all, that it had not been all happmess to 
her. 

We none of us thoroughly understand 



70 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

the other. I comprehended later that she 
had kept all trouble from me so long as she 
could. 

Sooner than I could have supposed it 
possible for him to arrive, my uncle Isaac 
knocked at the door, which I opened for 
him. 

He was dressed all in black, and had 
precisely that look m his face which a man 
usually wears when, full of trouble himself, 
bethinks he will be called upon to comfort 
the trouble of others as well. 

I do not know in what state he ex- 
pected to fmd me, but he must have felt 
r^heved at my meetmg him ; for his eyes 
brightened in an instant, and the hard 
set expression about his mouth relaxed as 
he took my hand in his, and said only two 
words — 

" Nannie, dear !" 

That was all. I never spoke ; I could 
not speak. We went mto the parlour 
together, and for full five minutes, I should 



MV BE RE A VEMENT. 71 

say, he stood beside the window, although 
the bhiid was drawn down ; his hands 
plunged deep in liis pockets, his eyes fixed 
on the carpet, silent as I was myself. 

At the end of that time, which seemed 
like an houi" to me, he turned and said — 

" Where is she % You needn't come, only 
tell me." I had not far to take him, only 
across the hall ; for in our little drawing- 
room, where she died, they had laid her 
down in that sleep which might never 
on earth be broken. The furniture was 
arranged formally against the walls, the 
piano was closed, the ornaments piled up 
on a table in one corner, while in the 
centre were placed tressels, which sup- 
ported a shell containing that he desired to 
see. 

He entered, and I, closmg the door, left 
the middle-aged man with his mother. 

He stayed a long while with her. Who 
can tell what memories he recalled, what 
deeds he wished undone, what hours he 



72 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

would have given years of his existence 
to hve over again, what prayers he uttered, 
what vows he made — alone then with God 
and the dead ! I only know that when 
at length he joined me, his face was 
very white, and its expression sadder and 
sterner than any I had ever seen there 
before. 

" Will you come out with me T he 
asked ; and I put on a bonnet and scarf, 
and we went away together into the cool 
dai'k woods, where the brook went trickling 
over the pebbles and gravel, making a 
music like that of distant faery bells. 

" You have lost your best friend, 
Nannie," he began, after we had walked 
for some time in silence ; " and I have lost 
mine. We must try to be good friends to 
one another." 

I could not answer him. His speech 
made my comprehension of the utter deso- 
lation that had come upon me, more vivid 
-even than before. 



AfV BE RE A VEMENT. 



" It was not unexpected to her," he 
went on. " Before I came to see you 
at Christmas, I knew that sooner or later I 
should receive just such a message as Dr. 
Packman sent me on Monday. I had a 
letter from her so long back as last 
summer, which I brought over for you 
to read. If it would grieve you to look at 
it now " 

" No," I interrupted, stretching out my 
hand to take the famihar writing ; " only 
first tell me why, if — if you knew, she 
kept it- " 

" Why she did not confide in you as 
^well ?" he finished. " For this reason, 
dear : she did not wish your feet to be set 
in the Valley of the Shadow one hour 
before it was actually necessary." 

" But I should like to have known," 
I said. " Oh, grannie, if you had only told 
me !" — and the tears so long repressed 
burst their bounds as I thought of aU 
the hours I might have spent with her. 



74 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

of all I might have done for her, had I 
ever guessed there was danger approach- 
^ing. 

He let me cry for a space. He sat silent 
beside the stream, while I — hands flung 
wildly forward, face buried in the cool 
moss — sobbed as though my heart were 
breaking. 

" If you had been expectmg this daily 
for a year," he said at last, speaking slowly 
and gently, " it would not have seemed one 
bit the less hard now. You were too 
young, Nannie, to have borne such know- 
ledge, as we older people are forced to 
do, patiently. Life would have stood still 
for you m the expectation of death ; ordi- 
nary duties would have been cast aside ; 
the laughter my mother loved to hear 
would have echoed no longer ; the step 
she Hked to watch, so Hght and quick, 
would have grown slow and thoughtful ; 
your pleasant talk would have had a con- 
straint upon it ; and mstead of the memory 



MY BEREAVEMENT. 75 

of a year of happiness, you would now 
be looking back upon twelve months 
clouded by the anticipation of a trouble 
which was incapable of being averted by 
you or any other human being." 

" But, oh, uncle, if I had only known !" 
I repeated, my face still buried in the 
moss, now wet with scalding tears. 

" What could you have done, dear T 

Ay, that was the question — what could I 
have done — I, so feeble, so powerless, 
though I loved her so much ? 

" Do you suppose, if any means had 
seemed likely to avail, I should have left 
those means untried T 

" No," I murmured. 

" Then why should you wish to have 
known when you could have done nothmg 
for her ?" 

I lifted up my face from the ground, 
and pushed back the hair that had fallen 
in tangled masses over my forehead. I 
could answer him now, for the vague 



76 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

impressions left by his first announcement 
had taken a definite shape at last. 

" If I had a great trouble," I rephed, 
'■'' I should not hke to bear it all alone, even 
if no one could help me." 

The stream rippled on at our feet, the 
birds' songs sounded overhead ; there en- 
sued a pause, during which I could hear 
the melody of the stream, the chorus 
of the birds. Then my companion said 
softly — 

" When you have such a trouble as 
this, or a trouble greater, if that be pos- 
sible, I trust that One, nearer and dearer 
even than little Annie was to her grand- 
mother, will help you to bear it." 

And he took off his hat when he spoke, 
as though he had been in church. 

It was an incongruous idea, and I hated 
my imagination for harbouring it at such 
a moment ; but I could not help wondering 
how a man like this had ever brought him- 
self to marry his wife. 



MY BEREAVEMENT. 77 

True, Mrs. Isaac Motfield was not unac- 
customed to religious musings and observa- 
tions, but her remarks usually tended to 
the conclusion that the special Providence 
vi^hich du-ected the concerns of her and 
hers had either no time or no inclination 
to consider the afFau's of other people. 

Never, save in the cant of some utterly 
hypocritical time-server, did rehgion present 
a more repulsive aspect than v^hen por- 
trayed by the word-painting of Mrs. Isaac 
Motfield. Vaguely, spite of my sorrow, 
the memory of some of the sentences I had 
heard that woman utter would recur to my 
mind, and at the same moment a question, 
which never ceased to trouble me for very 
long at a time, once again presented itself ; 
and in order to have it solved, I asked — 

"Where, uncle, will — the " 

" I suppose you mean, dear, where shall 
we bury her T he said, as I stopped, not 
liking to pronounce the word. " If you 
read the letter I gave you, and I think 



78 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

it may be well for you to do so, that will 
tell you aU." 

Saying which he rose and left me, while 
I perused that message from the dead. 

At first the writing seemed dim and 
indistinct, by reason of the tears which 
welled up in my eyes and bhnded me ; but 
by degrees that control, learned in the calm 
unimpassioned school wherein all the lessons 
of my Hfe had been conned, asserted itself, 
and I read her words, as I would have tried 
to Usten to them if spoken on her death- 
bed, quietly. 

After some commonplace sentences, touch- 
ing a pecuniary remittance, domestic matters, 
and the health of her daughter-in-law and 
grandchildren, the letter proceeded : — 

" Now, my dear son, I have some bad 
news to tell, which I think it only right 
you should know. I have not, as I told 
you in my last, felt very well for some time, 
and so I determined to consult a medical 
man. He tells me — for I begged hun to 



MY BE RE A VEMENT. 79 

keep nothing back — that my heart is 
seriously affected, and that the mischief 
has been going on for years. I thank God 
for giving me so many free from ache or 
pain, or knowledge of coming illness ! 
Leading the quiet regular life I do, free 
from care, it is possible and probable, he 
says, that following certain rules, my life 
may be prolonged for a considerable time 
longer ; on the other hand, a day, an hour, 
a minute may end it. 

" At first this seemed to me very terrible ; 
but when I come to think it over, what 
more has the doctor said to me now than I 
have heard repeated every Sunday since I 
first went to the little chapel in Love- 
dale ? 

"^ My days are not yet numbered, though 
one day more may find my place vacant ; 
but the uncertainty of life, so far as I am 
concerned, has been put before me in a way 
I can never forget ; and for this reason I 
want to put my house in order, so that 



80 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

when the hour strikes no worldly concerns 
may trouble me. 

" As soon as may be convenient, I should 
like you to come over, that I may tell you 
exactly what I have done ; only remember, 
Annie must know nothing of all this. 
Trouble will come upon her soon enough 
without our making it for her. She has- 
been the blessing of my old age, the light 
and life of a home which, but for her, must 
indeed have seemed dark and lonely. 

" I do not want her to shed a tear for me 
before the time actually comes. I want to 
see the sunshine on her young face until 
night closes over me. Isaac, you will be a 
father to that dear child. I don't dictate 
where she shall live, what you shall do with 
her little money, how her education shall 
go on. I leave you her guardian — I leave 
her present and her future to God. 

" If I did not believe He would keep her 
from all harm I should fear sometimes for 
her happiness ; and yet every day I feel 



J/V BE RE A VEMENT. 81 

more and more assured that, although her 
ways are not my ways, she will be kept from 
the evil, if not from trouble. The lady whose 
school she attends called here yesterday, 
and told me that if Annie ever should 
require to take a situation, she would be 
most happy to engage her as a junior 
teacher. This is an unspeakable relief to 
me, as it would at once give the poor dear 
a home and a chance of cheaply finishing 
her education. 

" Every one seems to Hke the child, 
though she is so shy before strangers. I 
pray she may always make good friends — 
I mean friends who will teach her nothing 
but what is right. 

" My dear son, this is a long letter for 
m.e to write. I have l^een two days about 
it akeady, and have not yet finished. 

" There are one or two things I still want 
to say : whenever I go and wherever, lay my 
body in the graveyard most convenient at 
the time. 

VOL. II. 6 



82 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" You recollect when I left Lovedale my 
saying foolishly I should like to be bimed 
beside your father. I have learned better 
since. He will be as near me if I rest 
under the turf here as if you put us side 
by side. 

" Concerning the little I have to leave, 
Annie has no part in it save in my love and 
gratitude. My own children are nearest in 
blood. Amongst them I have equally 
divided all the worldly goods I own, but I 
desire you to see that the money which 
came to Annie from her father is touched 
by no one save for her benefit ; and I wish 
you to understand I have left a hst of all 
the articles in the cottage which are her 
property, and oh, my son, be kind to this 
the only orphan we have in the family — in 
proportion to the charge shall be the reward. 
Some may, -perhaps, think I have loved the 
cliild too much, but if you hear this said, 
remember all she has been to me. 

" Certainly I can declare since she was 



M V BE RE A FEME NT. 83 

first put in my arms she has never wilfully 
caused me an anxious hour. If she is 
different from us all, the Almighty made 
her so. You first pointed this out to me. 
Kemember thai night, Isaac, when I am 
here no longer." 

There was more than this, more added 
at later dates, for the letter occupied a 
week in writing ; but I could read no 
farther then. 

What had I lost 1 what had I not lost ? 
In a great hurry, with a terrible tremor, I 
went in search of my uncle, whom I dis- 
covered not far distant. 

" Let us go home," I said ; "let us go 
home, please, now." 

" Why home, Nannie ?" he asked. 

" Because I want to be near her as long 
as I can," was my reply. 

" But you trust me, dear, don't you "?" he 
asked. " I wiR be all to you she asks, and 
more." 

By way of answer, I put my arms round 

6—2 



84 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

his neck and kissed him, as I apprehend no 
child of his own had ever done before. 

Then, hand clasped in hand, we retraced 
our steps, through the woods, acioss the 
green, to the silent darkened dwelling 
where she lay so still and quiet. 




CHAPTER V. 

CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 




HE next morning brought an influx 
of Motfields and other relations to 
that once peaceful home. People I 
had never seen before took possession of the 
house as though it belonged to them of 
right. People I had only vaguely heard of, 
asked if I was " that girl," and receiving an 
answer in the affirmative, shook then- heads 
in grave disapproval of my existence and 
myself. 

Mrs. Daniel Motfield was there, but 
Mrs. Isaac, having it in contemplation about 
that period to increase the population of 
Fairport, put m no appearance — to my 
exceeding comfort, be it confessed. 

Before the arrival of this goodly com- 



86 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

pany, my Uncle Isaac, assisted by Dr. Pack- 
man, occupied himself in putting away all 
plate, nicknacks, ornaments, papers, articles 
of wearing apparel, and so forth, in boxes, 
cupboards, and drawers, whereto seals were 
at once attached. Nothing moveable, in- 
deed, was left, save the general furniture, of 
which they took an inventory, and my own 
wearing apparel, which no one considered 
sufficiently valuable to put under lock 
and key. 

" Nannie," said my uncle to me on the 
morning of that day, " you had better go 
over this morning to Miss Packman ; she 
will be glad to have you." 

"Let me stay," I answered; "I will 
stop in my own room." 

And he humoured me. Amongst that 
throng I had no desire to follow my dead 
— mine if theirs ; and when they had all 
departed, the silent house, the stillness 
broken by no sound save that of the toll- 
ing bell, was more eloquent to me of one 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 87 

" gone before" than the dark procession, 
the gaping grave. 

When it was all over, when earth had 
been given to earth, and dust returned to 
dust, when the mourners had come back, 
and cake and wine had duly been eaten and 
drunk, Dr. Packman knocked at my door. 

" Miss Annie," he said, "as a matter of 
form you had better come downstau-s ; the 
vnll is going to be read." 

"Wliat have I to do with her willT" 
I asked. 

"Happily, nothing," he answered; "never- 
theless, do as I teU you ;" and I obeyed. 

How the men and the women assembled 
below scowled at me as, holding Dr. Pack- 
man's hand, I entered ! They edged closer 
together, moving away from the corner we 
occupied, as though I had brought con- 
tagion into the room. 

" Shouldn't wonder if she has left the 
gM every farthing," I heard one very evil- 
lookmg man remark, after which there was 



88 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

a " hush-sh !" and the attorney, who had 
nodded to me pleasantly and encouragingly, 
began. 

The will was very short. She had been 
possessed of little, and at her death she 
divided it fairly and sunply amongst all her 
" dear children." To her grandchild, Annie 
Trenet, bemg already jDrovided for, she left 
merely her love and blessing. She ap- 
pointed her eldest son Isaac guardian of the 
said Annie Trenet, and named Isaac Mot- 
field and Dr. Decimus Packman executors. 

" That is all, ladies and gentlemen," said 
the lawyer, when he finished reading, mar- 
vellmg apparently at the dead hush and 
silence which succeeded ; and he rose, and 
wall in hand stood, so it seemed to me^ 
inviting comment. 

There ensued a pause, which was broken 
at length by the husband of some one of 
my unknown aunts. 

" I call that a will such as all wills should 
be," he said, in an accent which actually 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 8!> 

appalled me. " And what I mean to say is 
this : we have all done Miss Annie there a 
great injustice, and I for one am sorry for 
it. Will you shake hands, niece ?" 

Thus accosted, what could I do but 
comply with his request, having the pleasure 
at the same time of hearinof Mrs. Daniel 
Motfield remark — 

" Artful little baggage ! she has been 
living on the fat of the land all these years 
past." 

" Artful baggage yourself, ma'am, or 
civil language, if you please," shouted my 
latest champion, who, I discovered sub- 
sequently, had married a female Motfield 
older even than my Uncle Isaac. " I say 
the will is a just will ; and more nor that, 
I say, if ever this young lady wants a friend, 
I'll stand by her. Now, my dear, maybe 
you'll want a home." 

" No," interrupted Dr. Packman, de- 
cidedly ; " not while my sister and I have 
one to offer her. But Miss Annie has 



•90 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

money. Her future residence must be 
decided by her sole guardian ;" and he 
indicated Uncle Isaac. 

" Oh, we understand all about that. He 
has played his cards well," said Mrs. Daniel, 
who was simply irrepressible, as I knew to 
my cost. 

At this juncture I got up ; I did not care 
for Mrs. Daniel or the whole assembled 
multitude. 

" Take me from them, uncle," I cried, 
crossing the room to where he stood. 
" Take me away anywhere ; there is not 
one of them who loved grannie one bit. " 

It was an accusation they could not 
answer. They made way for us to pass 
without a word more being spoken, and 
you, and you, and you, who have lived in 
the world, and understand its pleasant 
ways, can guess how my relatives loved me 
after that confession of faith. 

What did their love or hate matter to 
me, however ? She, the only woman ex- 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 91 

cepting my mother who had ever cared for 
me, was dead ; what farther sorrow could 
time or experience bring ? 

That was what youth said ; what time 
and experience said is quite another affair. 

Then I had but youth to consult, and 
that which youth bid me do I did. For 
hours at a stretch I sat in the churchyard, 
beside a grave my own hands had beauti- 
fied ; I wept in passionate despair when I 
woke in the morrdngs, I cried through the 
day, I sobbed myself to sleep at night. 

In the presence of others I kept my grief 
in the background, and fancied no one sus- 
pected how much I fretted, but in this I 
was wrong. It had been tacitly agreed 
amongst those who at that time interested 
themselves about my welfare, it was best 
the fever of trouble should be left to take 
its own course ; and when I came to my 
senses again, it filled me with a terrible 
feeling of shame to find how, while I fancied 
I was bearing my sorrow silently and alone, 



92 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

every one had been really studjdng my 
wishes, humouring my whims, keejoing 
silence at times when speech would have 
proved far easier, if not one-half so wise. 

When many weeks had jDassed, when 
the first grief was spent, when I had 
begiui dimly to understand that the afiairs 
of life must go on, whether people were 
happy or miserable, my Uncle Isaac came 
over to Alford once again. 

By advice of Dr. Packman, my fancy 
for remaining in the cottage had hitherto 
been indulged. 

True, they did not leave me alone there 
all day, but they left me sufficiently alone 
to humour the idea that no one ever tried 
to come between me and my grief Now, 
however, it was necessary to consider the 
future. Where was I to live ? with whom,^ 
and how % 

If the cottage were let, it was estimated 
a sufficient annual income could be secured 
to enable me to reside with some quiet 



CONCERNING MV FUTURE. 93 

family, and to contmue my studies. Dr. 
Packman and his sister wished to give me 
a home free of all charge, but to this 
arrangement my uncle would by no means 
consent. 

" Nannie cannot intrude on the kmdness 
of friends for ever," he said ; " and what 
she is to do, and what she is to be, had 
better be decided now than hereafter." 

" Herr Droigel will be with us the day 
after to-morrow," suggested Dr. Packman ; 
"would it not be well to defer coming 
to any conclusion until we hear his 
opinion ■?" 

" What has Herr Droigel to do with the 
matter ?" inquired my uncle. 

"Ask your niece," repHed the Doctor, 
lookmg significantly at me. 

But I exclaimed — 

" No, no ; I shall never sing — I shall 
never want to sing again." 

"Time will do wonders for you, my 
dear," said the Doctor, kindly; while my 



94 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

uncle, without taking any notice of my 
declaration, remarked — 

" I thought Herr Droigel said it would 
be better for her not to sing much, not to 
take singino' lessons at all." 

" He did say so," was the answer, " but 
there was a reason for that, which I will 
explain presently. Meantime, before open- 
ing any communication with Mrs. Mitchell 
concerning the pupil-teacher plan, to which 
it is evident you inchne, I should like you 
to have ten minutes' chat with Droigel." 

" We need not wait for Herr Droigel, 
Doctor," I interrupted, petulantly ; " I shall 
never sing agam." 

<■<■ Very well, dear," said Dr. Packman. 
" No one shall force you into any course 
distasteful to your feelings ; nevertheless," 
he added, sotto voce., " we will wait for my 
friend." 

After that conversation I had a relapse 
into despair. The mere mention of my 
voice brought back all the anxiety it had 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 95- 

caused, all the changes it had wrought. 
Over and over agam I repeated to myself the 
words I spoke to Dr. Packman — " Nothing 
should ever induce me to sing ; I would 
never open a piano more." Sittmg in the 
graveyard, under the shade of an ancient 
yew-tree, which sheltered the spot where 
she lay, I tormented myself by wishing 
that my grandmother could only understand 
how completely in unison our ideas on that 
vexed question were at last. 

I was there in the quiet hush of a 
summer's afternoon, quite alone. My uncle 
had gone with Dr. Packman for a drive, and 
it was arranged that on the morrow Herr 
Droigel's opinion as to my future career 
should be taken. 

To rebel against that opinion was my firm 
intention. Now she was dead, I resolved 
never to adopt a profession my grandmother 
would have disapproved of my entering 
during her life-time. 

I made that resolution beside her grave. 



96 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

and offered it to her memory, just in the 
same spirit as I had gathered flowers, and 
laid them on the turf that covered her 
resting-place. How calm and peaceful and 
still everything seemed ! The gardens of 
Little Alford Manor-house, that sloped 
down quite to the wall of the churchyard, 
the woods beyond with scarce a breath of 
air stirring the leaves, the quiet graveyard 
with its many grassy hillocks, its few and 
simple headstones, the old, old church, with 
its small diamond-paned windows, its low 
tower covered to the very top with ivy, its 
grey weather-beaten walls, its tiled roof, 
and its lych-gate. There was not a 
creature moving, not a human being crossed, 
while I remained, the footpath that led 
away first to the meadows, where cows 
chewed the cud lazily, and farther on to a 
stream, where under the alders the speckled 
trout flashed in and out of deep clear silent 
pools. 

Everything in the landscape was peaceful 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 97 

and beautiful. I alone felt at discord 
with Nature. Firmly I then believed the 
sight of the sun would never bring happiness 
to me agam. What good I proposed to 
myself or the dead by sitting thus, I cannot 
imagine. I only know I stayed till the 
shadow thrown by the church-tower warned 
me it was time to return to our cottage. 
Hising slowly from the ground, I was about 
to leave the place, when a voice close at 
hand said softly — 

" Soh, my poor Httle maiden, it is thus 
we meet once more ;" and Herr Droigel, for 
it was he, took my hand in both of his, 
while he shook his great head mournfully, 
with an expression of tender sentiment, that 
would at any other time have seemed to me 
irresistibly funny, pervading his fat face. 

" You have suffered," he went on, " that 
is bad ; you eat nothing, you sleej) httle, 
that is worse ; you sit here thinking to 
bring back your dead to life, that is worst 
of all. My little child, did I not tell thee 

VOL. II. 7 



98 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

it was good for you to love your grand- 
mother % Yes. Then I tell thee now it is 
good for you to leave her. She would tell 
you this if that tongue so silent could speak. 
She would say, ' Mine love, weeping beside 
]ny grave is not what you should be doing.' 
She would say, ' Have pity on your pretty 
buds, and make up no garlands to wither 
in memoriam of one whose eyes now behold 
the flowers of Paradise.' She would say, 
' You have shed many, many tears ; shed 
no more, because I am where there are no 
tears.' She would say, ' There is a time 
for weeping and a time for rejoicing ; you 
have wept ; you should now rejoice, because 
there are so many good kind friends left 
who love you much.' Come ;" and he drew 
my hand within liis arm, and thus we 
walked together to Dr. Packman's house. 

Arrived there, we found tea ready, and 
Miss Packman, her brother, and my uncle 
in the drawing-room. 

" And now, good gentlemen both," said 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 99 

Herr Droigel, when, after seeing me com- 
fortably seated, he drew up a chair to the 
table preparatory to commencing an attack 
on the good things Miss Packman had pro- 
vided for him — " and now, good gentlemen 
both, you remember when I went out I said 
I would give you one reply when I came 
back. My reply is — I make no advice 
about Miss Annie except Miss Annie's self 
be close at my elbow to hear. 

" Miss Annie being here, when I have 
eaten, when I have drunken some cups of 
amiable Miss Packman's tea, we will talk- 
Eat, mine love," he went on, addressing me ; 
" you will never understand our talk, if you 
listen to it while starving." 

There was no fear of Herr Droigel failing 
to understand the conversation if quantities 
of food were stimulants to comprehension. 

Before his gigantic appetite disappeared 
mountains of bread-and-butter, hillocks of 
toasted cakes, a dish covered with sHces of 
ham, and the best part of a cold fowl. To 

7—2 



100 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

this succeeded a second course of jellies, 
jams, and marmalade ; and when he had 
finished that, and half a dozen large cups of 
tea, he wound up with about a quart of 
strawberries, which he literally drowned in 
cream, m turn solidifying the cream with 
half a basinful of powdered white sugar. 

When he had demohshed this last enemy 
he heaved a sigh, complimented Miss Pack- 
man on " her delicate consideration in 
remembering the preferences of her devoted 
Droigel," pushed his chair back, and inquired 
if wha,t we had to say could not be talked 
over amono-st the " roses and the lilies." 

Without doubt it is this " roses and 
lihes " business which makes those who 
have been thrown much in contact with 
Germans so bitter against and so suspicious 
of those of the Fatherland who honour our 
country with their presence. When a man 
finds that all this charm of manner covers 
something which is not in the least charming 
in its results ; when he cUscovers that under- 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 101 

neath the velvet glove lurks the grasp of 
iron ; that subservient to all other hiunan 
interests lies the desire of self-aggrandize- 
ment, it becomes very difficult to tolerate 
figures of speech and graces of sentiment. 

" Your money or your hfe," may not be 
a pleasant form of words, but it possesses 
at least the advantage of perfect intel- 
ligibility. 

When precisely the same result has been 
compassed by a more gracefuUy-tumed 
sentence, or series of sentences, the deceit- 
fulness of the procedure only aggravates the 
rage of the victim. 

We, sitting among the roses and lilies of 
Herr Droigel's sentiment, were, however, 
novices to all this sort of thing, and lis- 
tened to the graces of language to which 
Herr Droigel treated us in the same frame 
of mind as that with which one might con- 
template the antics of a kitten. 

With what delight, by the way, must 
these foreigners observe the tolerant self- 



102 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

complacency wherewith Enghsh people 
regard them ! 

If we could catch a glimpse of them, 
when the mask is off, the disguise of that 
" so charming simphcity " j)u.t on one side, 
as a man might don a useful topcoat, should 
we not find these " mere children of nature" 
screaming with laughter and exclaiming in 
then- detestable gutturals — 

" What a fool is this dear John Bull, 
what a fool is Mrs. Bull, what fools are 
the young ladies and the young gentlemen, 
sons and daughters of John and his wife !" 

As before indicated, however, we Hstened 
to Herr Droigel that evening even as he 
himself would have tenderly put it, " like 
calves of the Bull family ;" thereby imply- 
ing a more touching extent of gullibihty 
than is to be found ordinarily amongst that 
bucolic race. 

Certainly we knew no more of Germany, 
of the cleverness of its inhabitants, of the 
dexterity with which they can manipulate 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 103 

conversation and blow bubbles in the air 
all the time they are really trying to catch 
fish in the stream, than the babes in the 
wood. 

Happy was it for us, simpletons as we 
were, that Herr Droigel was so honest a 
rogue, so clever a self-seeker, so straight- 
forward a deceiver, so virtuous a hypo- 
crite as time proved him to be. 

Had he been treacherous as Delilah we 
should have fallen into his hands all the 
same. 

" Sit here, Miss Annie," began the large 
creature, grouping us to his satisfaction 
on some seats placed under a mulberry- 
tree in the Doctor's old-fashioned garden, 
" you and I are old friends ; we under- 
stand one another. Come and sit near 
to your own Droigel, who has been put 
on the rack, who has been subjected to 
what your merciful lawgivers used to call 
the question, all for you. Yes, it is true ; 
no sooner did I arrive here this afternoon, 



104 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

seeking rest and repose , after the heat and 
burden, than Miss Packman commences to 
speak about ' Annie,' whom she loves as 
her own sister. She has not finished 
talkmg before two gentlemen appear in a 
gig. They are both hot, having of their 
own free will been driving in the sun, 
but they are not so hot as their horse, 
which, without any will of its own, has 
been driven in the sun — poor horse ! 

" One of these pair says, pomting to the 
other, ' This is Annie's uncle, Mr. Motfield — 
my old and valued friend Herr Droigel.' 

" Droi2;el stands two inches hia^her in his 
shoes, and is charmed. 

" Then Dr. Packman says, ' It is de- 
sirable some decision should be come to 
concerning Annie's future ;' and Mr. Mot- 
field adds, ' What should you advise, Herr 
Droigel ?' And how do you suppose I 
answered your friends, Miss Annie ?" 
finished Herr Droigel, turning suddenly 
towards me. 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 105 

" I fancy you did not answer them 
at all," I said, remembering liis speech 
made before he had, to quote his own 
phrase, " eaten and drunken." 

" Wrong, Miss Annie," was his reply. 
"I answered, 'I am going out, gentlemen, 
for a few minutes ; when I return I shall 
have pleasure to reply to you.' " 

Then ensued a silence, which no one else 
seeming disposed to break, Herr Droigel 
again took up his parable — ■ 

" I went across the green common to the 
pretty house I remembered ; there was 
110 Annie there. I asked a servant, not 
pretty, but good — good I should say cer- 
tainly — where I might find the young miss, 
and the servant pointed a finger towai-ds 
the church-tower. So I went softly to 
Grod's-acre, with a light tread and a heavy 
heart, and there I found this child sitting 
beside a grave, on which newly-woven 
wreaths were already withering. I brought 
her back with me. That is my little 



106 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

story ; suppose, gentlemen, yon now tell 
yours." 

Once again there ensued a pause, which 
was broken, however, this time by Dr. 
Packman — 

" When you were here last summer 
Annie sang for you, and you said she 
had a voice." 

" Mein Gott ! I only hope she has not 
lost it," ejaculated Herr Droigel ; " but 
eating nothing, drmking nothing, crying 
much, sitting in damp graveyards — that is 
not the way to preserve a voice. No 
doubt," he added, mournfully, " the gift has 
been withdrawn, the lute broken. I 
warned you that organ was delicate. Do 
not blame me if the hfe in it has been 
destroyed." 

" But, my good friend, you said to me 
yourself " began Dr. Packman, excitedly. 

" But, mein goot friend, you said to me 
yourself," interrupted Herr Droigel, with 
imperturbable calmness — " come nearer to 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 107 

me, Miss Annie, and you shall hear just 
what he said. Here where we sit, while 
we two were smoking our pipes, I asked, 
' What does all this mean — what is the 
mystery V and then he began : ' Droigel, 
the girl must not go to London yet. She 
is an orphan ; she has always lived with a 
grandmother, and they are devoted to each 
other. The old lady's time here cannot be 
long. That is the meaning and the 
mystery.' So now. Miss Annie, you know 
why I told you to get strong and love 
your grandmother. Complete frankness is 
best ; I love not secrets and reserves and 
whispers." 

" It seems to me," interposed my uncle, 
" that the future and the present are what 
we are now concerned with. The past sig- 
nifies little." 

"It signifies a great deal," exclaimed 
Herr Droigel, with emotion. " Himmel ! 
to think of a whole year having been lost 
at her age ; and yet not lost," he added. 



108 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

remembering his former sentiments — " not 
lost, since it was spent with one this dear 
Miss Annie loved so much." 

And he took my hand and stroked it 
reflectively. 

" Well, the past cannot be recalled, at 
all events," said Dr. Packman. " Mr. Mot- 
field is quite right there ; and what we have 
now to decide is, whether Annie shall go to 
Mrs. Mitchell's as a pupil-teacher, or " 

" What is a pupil-teacher ?" interrupted 
the German ; and on bemg informed he 
remarked, " Proceed. I beg your pardon 
for being so rude as to break in on your 
sentence, only I want to make my points as 
we go on." 

" Or," continued Dr. Packman, "whether 
she shall devote herself to the musical pro- 
fession." 

" Meaning " suggested Herr Droigel. 

" Meaning, in other ^ words," explained 
Dr. Packman, " shall she be a governess or 
a singer ? " 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 109 

" Good ; that is, supposing she has not 
lost her voice, and can sing," observed Herr 
Droigel. " And now what says Miss 
Annie herself?" 

" I shall never sino: ao^am." 

" Good, once more. Now, gentlemen 
both, have you said your says ? Have you. 
Miss Annie, said your little say ?" 

" I beheve so," answered my uncle, while 
Doctor Packman nodded ; and I repeated 
my statement in a different form, " I shall 
be a governess ;" of which statement Herr 
Droigel did not take any notice beyond 
stroking my hand solemnly and thought- 
fully once more. 

" You English have a charming adage 
about buying a pig in a poke. I do not 
know what a poke is — I never met any- 
body who did ; but I take it to mean that 
no one but a fool plays at cards bhndfold. 
You have done me so great honour as to- 
ask my advice about this dear Miss Annie. 
If I ask two three questions you \^all not 



110 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

say, when my broad back is turned, That 
Droigel, what a most horribly rude fellow 
he is ! prying into this thing, peering into 
that." 

" Ask any questions you like," said my 
uncle, heartily. " I think we have all the 
same object at heart." 

Quite true, dear uncle ; the same object, 
with a difference, happily, perhaps for me. 

" Very good ; I thank you, Mr. Motfield. 
Now you and Dr. Packman, my highly- 
esteemed old friend, seem agreed that as 
a matter of Hving — bread-and-butter, we 
shall say — it is necessary this young miss 
should turn her attention to teacliinof other 
young misses. That is so ?" 

" That is so," answered my uncle. 

" And why is it so ? — forgive me if I 
seem rude beyond imagination. Regard 
me as a doctor ; this good child is sick ; 
I want to know what prescription to make, 
I ask questions that seem to you babble." 

" The greater part of my mother's income 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. Ill 

died with her," was the reply, " and the 
part which did not she divided equally 
amongst her children, purposely excluding 
Annie from all interest in it." 

" What had Miss Annie done ?" 

" She had money of her own — more, by 
far, than my mother could give to her 
children. I think the will a just one ; 
there should be no favouritism in famihes." 

" Then Miss Annie is in a small way an 
heiress, as our good friend here gave me 
to understand ?" 

" Yes, but only in a small way. She 
would have enough — if the cottage could 
be let advantageously — to live on had 
she been dilBPerent — of a different nature, I 
mean. " 

" I understand ; it is the noblesse oblige 
element which causes difficulty. Miss Annie 
is a young lady, and has been brought up 
as a young lady should be. And you think, 
my dear," this to me, " it will please you 
to be a governess ?" 



112 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" I thiiik I must be one," I answered. 
" By my own wish money has been spent 
on my education ; it would never do to 
have that money wasted." 

" And how much, if I may inquke, has 
been spent upon this leanung ?" asked Herr 
Droigel. 

" Books, and everythmg included, about 
a hundred pounds," answered my uncle. 

" Gott in Himmel !" ejaculated Herr 
Droigel, " and nothing for it, nothing !" 

" I dined at Mrs. Mitchell's every day," 
I explained. 

" Dined, yes, that is something. At \hQ 
quahty of the dinner I make no guess. 
What knowledge you got might not fill 
that ;" and he touched the bowl of his 
pipe significantly. 

" Mrs. Mitchell would give me a small 
salary even now," I said, with a sense of 
offended dignity pervading my manner. 

" Are you quite sure of that, my dear V 
he asked, then continued. " No doubt, 



CONCERNING MY FUTURE. 113 

though, she would give you a premium to 
teach other young misses to know as little 
as you do. Yes, dat is England," and he 
looked on the ground, in deep thought, 
whilst I, swelling with anger, was com- 
pelled to keep silence, because I really did 
not know in what form of words to express 
my feelings, 

" I am of opinion that Miss Annie and 
the respectable Mrs. Mitchell would get 
on most admirably together," said Herr 
Droigel at length ; " but still if I was you and 
Miss Annie, I would think over that matter 
for a week. As Miss Annie has made up 
her mind so certainly never to sing more, 
it is of no use inquiring whether her voice 
is gone or not." 

After which Herr Droigel devoted him- 
self to an admiring contemplation of the 
roses and lilies. I do not think I ever 
hated a human being as I detested the fat 
German, the while I watched his ponderous 
figure stooping over the flowers, caressing 

VOL. II. 8 



114 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

with his great hands " the dear buds," so 
he styled them. 

I did not then understand the real cause 
of my mortification and disgust, but I com- 
prehend now it is one thing to say we will 
never use a talent again, but quite another 
not to be asked to exercise it. 

Only the other afternoon Herr Droigel 
told me, in an unwonted burst of con- 
fidence, that he understood the " httle ways 
of womans." 

If he ever reads these pages he can take 
the satisfaction out of them of knowing 
I thoroughly believe that statement, at all 
events. 




CHAPTER yi. 



WE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 




EFOE-E we had finished breakfast 
next morning Herr Droigel entered 
the room. 
" I have come to make one request," he 
said to my uncle. " Whilst Miss Annie is 
attending to her little household cares, fol- 
lowing the example of Desdemona the 
bewitching, will you walk with me ? Our 
good friend Packman is, as usual, off to see 
patients and make fees — what a charming 
profession is that of a doctor! — and that 
adorable Miss Packman, whom I have lofed 
ever since mine eyes first rested on her 
countenance, is engaged also, as becomes an 
English lady, in various works of domestic 
use. It is a heavenly morning. Say, dear 

8—2 



116 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

sir, will the sun and the sky tempt 

9" 

you f 

" The sun and the sky might not," an- 
swered my uncle, " but you, Herr Droigel, 
are irresistible." 

Whereupon the German laid his hand on 
his waistcoat and bowed, with that utter 
oblivion of the possibility of there being 
an3rthing ridiculous in his appearance, which 
is usual amongst foreigners. 

" And how is Miss Annie to-day ?" he 
went on. " To my thinking a Httle triste — 
a trifle what you call out of sorts. " 

" I am not out of sorts," I answered ; " I 
am only tired." 

" Tired ; that is bad," he said, with such 
an expression of sudden and genuine concern 
in his face, that I felt more than half in- 
clined to condone his offences of omission 
and commission. " I do not like to hear a 
young miss say she is tired so early that 
slie can have had no time to get weary. If 
you were my child, I should carry you off 



IVE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 117 

from Alford. I would let your eyes look on 
the Rhine. If you could not walk, I would 
carry you up the Swiss mountains. You 
should loiter at Geneva, and take Paris on 
youi' way home. No more ' tiredness ' 
then. You would be your old self, the Miss 
Annie I made friends with twelve months 
ao'o. 

" I am certain a chanofe would do her a 
world of good," agreed my uncle. 

" Good ! yes, I should think it would. 
Before she goes to Madam Mitchell, she 
ought to have one, two, three months' hoH- 
day. Yes, Miss Annie, I am right. You 
have been weeping ; you have been sittmg 
beside damp graves ; you have been fretting 
after a dear grandmother, who does not fret 
for you. The dead are so ungrateful ; it is 
the only fault I have to find with them. 
And now you want to get right away, out 
of sight even of Droigel, with whom you 
were angry last night — why, he does not 
know, unless it is because he doubted 



118 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

whether you had got your money s worth 
for your money. Never mind ; smile, smile 
again, Miss Annie, and I will declare you 
have had six copper pennies in exchange 
for every silver sixpence. We are friends 
once more, is it not so T and coming behind 
my chair, he laid a great hand on each of 
my shoulders, and stood in that attitude 
until I was forced into saying we were, and 
I hoped always should be, friends. 

Hearing which, Herr Droigel sighed 
heavily. 

" Your tone is not hearty, Miss Annie. 
You have got a fit of the English re- 
serve. You are not transparent like me. 
You have some second thought. You are 
angry, and I know not why. Never mind," 
he added, cheerfully; "some day I shall 
know — some day, when miss understand 
how truly and entirely I am her friend." 

What answer could I make to this ? 
What could I say, save in a fit of re- 
morse — 



IVE ARE ALL SA TISFLED. 119 

" I am not angry. I am only foolish ; I 
am out of tune." 

" Ah, how clever that is !" he soliloquized 
in an audible Avhisper. " Out of the depths 
of lier feminine temper she speaks to me as 
a musician. How good it is ! — a struig 
loose, a string broken; no matter who 
sweep the keys, a discord results. Yes, she 
is right. She wants to be in tune, and 
then all would be sweet as once it was." 

YieldrQg to the influence of this judicious 
flattery, I permitted myself to be led back 
into the paths of good humour. Once, in- 
deed, I actually laughed, and I could not 
help noticing my uncle's look of pleased 
surprise at the sound. 

" Will you dine with us to-day ?" he 
asked. 

" No," answered Herr Droigel. " I have 
principle, I have feeling. If the good doctor 
asks me to stay with him year after year, 
as he does, I say to myself, ' Droigel, you 
are part of this dear man's family. You go 



120 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

not out to eat, you go not out to drink while 
there. You make not a lodgment of hiis^ 
house.' But if you or any other like ta 
request the pleasure of my society alto- 
gether for two — three days, good ; I say 
not then no.' 

" Will you give us the pleasure of your 
society " (alas, I fear he found me dull !) 
" for two or three days T asked my uncle, 
eagerly. 

" Let us talk about that as we walk," 
answered Herr Droigel, gravely ; and the 
pair took their hats and sallied forth. 

I went with them as far as the gate, and 
watched for a minute as they sauntered 
across the green. Suddenly Herr Droigel 
turned and came hurrying back to where I 
stood. 

' " You will make a great try. Miss Annie," 
he said, "to be hke your own bright self of 
a year ago. It is so much trouble, I know, 
for both ; but thmk, think how bad it is for 
him. " 



PFE ARE ALL SA TLSFIED. 121 

And without giving me time to answer, 
he was gone, leaving me with ample food 
for thought during his absence. 

The longer I thought, the more unen- 
durable became the idea of changing the 
life I was leading for an existence cabined 
and confined by the rules and regula- 
tions of Mrs. Mitchell's establishment for 
young ladies. I was loyal to my grand- 
mother's prejudices. Honestly I meant to 
adhere to my resolution of singing no more 
for ever ; and yet still I believe, had Herr 
Droigel asked me that evening to uplift my 
voice, I should not, to quote his own words, 
have said no. 

Herr Droigel, however, was a great deal 
too astute to ask anything of the kind.. 
Taking my statement apparently as final, 
he never mentioned my voice, he never 
spoke to me about music ; but he came and 
stayed at the cottage for two days, and 
during that time he played and sang, with 



122 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

many apologies, as he said, " to please him- 
self, to pass the time." 

" I shall interfere not with yon, Miss 
Annie," he would remark. " While you are 
making your puddings, giving out your 
stores, marking your linen, I will amuse 
myself arranging one so simple melody. I 
will play soft, so as not to disturb a little 
baby ; and when you have thrown off your 
household cares and return, I will shut the 
instrument : not a note shall jar upon 
you." 

What a stupid little fool I was ! I used 
to listen outside the door while he played, 
taking in fresh life, fresh thoughts, fresh 
health, and yet I would not turn the handle 
and, going up to him, say, " Herr Droigel, 
music is the breath of my breath. I cannot 
live without it. I put my fature in your 
hands. Tell me what I must make of it." 

The old influence was upon me, only 
stronger than of yore ; yet I could not, 
now the restraining hand was withdrawn, 



IVE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 123 

'' gang mine ain gait " with the smallest 
pleasure ; and knowing all this, luxuriating 
in the struggle he comprehended was going 
on, Herr Droigel only said calmly — 

" What a pity miss does not care for 
music as she once did ! It would be useful 
for her, if she is to teach all manner of 
accomphshments to EngHsh heiresses." 

"Uncle," I said at length one evening, 
when a remark to this effect seemed to 
have drawn blood from every vein in my 
heart, " you hear what Herr Droigel says ; 
you know what I feel ; you understand 
what holds me back. If you were in my 
place, what should you do ?" 

There must have been some of the con- 
centrated passion I felt evidenced in my 
manner, for my uncle looked up at me in 
surprise, whilst Herr Droigel maintained a 
discreet silence. 

" What should I do, Nannie ?" repeated 
my uncle. " You know my opinion of old. 
It has undergone no change." 



124 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" But oh, uncle, you told me always to be 
good to grannie." 

" And were you not, my poor child ?" he 
said. " If we all faithfully performed our 
duties as you did yours, there would be few 
aching hearts m the world, I fancy." 

" But she did not want me to sing," I 
sobbed out. 

" She could not smg herself, Nannie, and 
was unable to understand what the gift 
meant to you. She was a good woman, the 
best I ever knew," he added, speaking with 
a tremor in his voice which compelled his 
breaking off suddenly ; " but," he went on, 
after a pause, " although she was so good 
and so true, we must not let our love blind 
us to the fact that her world was a small 
one, and that save through her love for you 
she never looked beyond it. I fancy, Nan," 
he said, by way of conclusion, " you, the 
stray lamb in our family, enlarged both our 
ideas. I never should have learnt tolera- 
tion but for you." 



IVE ARE ALL SATLSFIED. 125 

"Hear!" exclaimed Herr Droigel, in a 
fat tenor. 

" But, uncle," I said, unheeding that 
mark of approval, " if you were in my place, 
what should you do f 

" I should state my wishes to my friends, 
dear, and be guided by their advice. As 
for the dead " — once again he paused, but 
proceeded almost immediately—" I should 
consider the spirit of her wishes, instead of 
examining the letter. What my mother 
desired you to be, Nannie, was a good and 
happy woman. To my thinking you will 
be both good and happy if you use to the 
uttermost the gift God has given you. 
Had you become a great singer in her life- 
time, no one would have felt more pride in 
the fact than my mother. She would have 
sat in the reserved seats, and whispered to 
her neighbour with modest pride, ' That is 
my granddaughter.' " 

" Bravo !" exclaimed Herr Droigel. 

" Then do you mean to say you think I 



126 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

ought to take to music as a profession ?" 
I asked, breathlessly. 

" I think you have a gift," he answered. 
" I know you are m such a position that, if 
you have a gift and can make money out of 
it, you are bound to do so." 

"And if she can look down?" I asked, 
after a pause. 

" If she can, it will be with eyes from 
which the film of human prejudice has been 
removed. She can either see our affairs 
clearly now, Nan, or not at all." 

" Then what ought I to do, uncle ?" 

''AskHerrDroigel?" 

" Herr Droigel, what ought I to do ?" 

" If Droigel were anything but a drivel- 
ling fool, he would say, ' Miss Annie, what 
are your affau^s to me % Do what pleases 
you best. ' Oh, you women, young and old, 
you are all alike. You take a man, and 
fling him away, soh ! in your pretty tem- 
pers. When you want his help — and that 
is often — you go and pick him up and wind 



IVE ARE ALL SA TISFIED. 127 

him round your finger, and ask his advice. 
Fortunate it is for your sex that we are 
simpletons ; that we are without under- 
standing, as the Bible says ; that you can 
put bits in oiu' mouths, and drive us here, 
there, everywhere. What ought you to do ? 
you ask. Miss Annie. What you like, I 
reply ; and that is what you will do ; and 
you will get some foolish man, like Mr. Mot- 
field and me, to help you at every step. 
To-morrow you shall come to me and say 
what you want, or rather I shall come to 
you and hear what you want. To-night I 
want, with your most gracious permission, 
to try the effect of a song I wrote to-day 
under the mulberry-tree of that dear Pack- 
man. May I, without offence, open your 
instrument ? Ten million thanks and 
apologies. Now I will sing." 

He sang ; and, closing my eyes, I listened. 
It may seem ridiculous, but I never could 
bear to look at HeiT Droigel when he was 
singing. The voice was the voice of an 



128 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

archangel ; the body whence it proceeded 
was as unwieldy as that of an elephant — a 
mountain of soft, flabby, unpleasant fat. 
flesh. 

If memory serve me rightly, it is in one 
of Miss Edgeworth's tales that an account 
is given of a young lady who — disgusted 
with the prosaic comfort of her own home, 
and charmed with the ethereal view of life 
taken by a certain sentimental authoress in 
whose works she delighted, over whose 
touching sentences she wept — entered into 
a correspondence with the gifted one, and 
finally left her home ; and, to the surprise 
and dismay of the gifted one, appeared in 
due course of time at the G. O.'s abode, 
which turned out to be rooms over a pastry- 
cook's shop. 

To have dreamt of roses and honey- 
suckles, to have visioned an ideal home, 
where the jasmine shone faintly, and the 
nightingale sang in the myrtle-groves to his 
mate, and to awake to a fearful reality of 



JVE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 129 

batli-buns and raspberry-tarts, was suffi- 
ciently trying. Nevertheless there have 
been those who, in their adversity, lent 
a charm even to ciuTant -loaves and pre- 
serves. 

Of such, however, was not the author of 
those toucliing tales. She appeared frouzy 
as concerned her hair, untidy as to her 
dress, and — may it be spoken ? — given to 
dram-drinking. 

The young lady, repentant, returned to 
her friends, and was disillusioned and re- 
stored to the paths of practical, if mono- 
tonous, morality, after Miss Edgeworth's 
favourite fashion. 

I often think of that dehghtfuUy priggish 
authoress when I recall Herr Droigels 
music. By all her rules of prudence and 
morahty — seeing him eat, seeing him drink, 
beholding that too large body moved to 
deeds of agility and locomotion — I ought 
to have forsworn music at once and for ever. 
I should have said, " Of what value is music, 

VOL. II. 9 



130 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

if it can be content with such a habitation ?" 
But I did no such thing. 

Perhaps, indeed I know, I lamented the 
setting in which that divine voice was pre- 
sented ; but the voice seemed divine, for all 
that. Nevertheless I preferred shutting 
my eyes to the source whence it proceeded. 

I was then unaware that when the gift is 
given, it is rarely provided with a casket to 
match. I had not then learned that porter, 
or even white soup, was a good thmg for 
the voice. Like a simpleton, I would here 
below have separated the soul from the 
flesh, had such a divorce been possible, and 
listened to the spirit sounds without the 
intervention of an unromantic body. 

How that man sang ! I do not believe 
he loved music one-half so well as I, and yet 
his life was a long melody. 

" That will do," he said, when the last 
note died away, and he took his soft 
fingers off the keys; "that will bring 
down the galleries. I never care," he went 



IVE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 131 

on, speaking to my uncle, " in this your 
practical England, for the applause of 
white gloves. I love to hear the stamp 
of strong boots, and see madame, in a dis- 
creet bonnet, nodding approval in her un- 
becoming way. Then I know I shall be 
whistled in the streets, sung by the middle- 
class million. When I write for the future 
— for fame — I send to mine own beloved 
country, and get, not money, but applause." 

" Why do you not always write for ap- 
plause ?" I inquired. 

" Because, my sweet Miss Annie, spite of 
that cynical Frenchman's remark, ' I see not 
why' in answer, one must hve. Sometimes 
— yes, indeed, occasionally for a very long 
time — butcher and baker and candlestick - 
maker, as your distich has it, are forbearing 
and forgetful to an extent ; but another time 
comes, when one says, 'I want money to 
go to market,' and another, 'My miller must 
be paid,' and a third, 'The Herr from 
whom I buy tm and brass asks for a 

9—2 



132 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

few pounds.' So there eomes the inevitable 
hour of payment. Ah, if one could Hve on 
fame ! — if one could ! But, alas, although 
the money itself seems base — base — the 
goods money can buy are not to be despised. 
Now," proceeded this plausible individual, 
" suppose that, instead of only having a 
voice fit to sing in this small room, or in 
one twice its size, I had an organ like that 
nature has given to ungrateful Miss Annie, 
and I could, so to speak, breathe golden 
guineas, do you thmk I would indite songs 
for young ladies to sing ? Acli nein ! But 
it is always thus. Where the gift is not, it 
is longed for ; where it exists, it is spurned." 
And then he executed an impromptu 
mazurka, full of unexpected surprises, and 
quaint strange changes of key ; breaking 
out, after that, into one of the songs of the 
beloved Fatherland, which must have 
sounded weird and strange to any English 
person crossing our village green in the 
calm twilight. 



IVE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 133 

For me, all through that summer's night, 
I lay awake talking to the dead ; rehearsing 
my position to ears deaf, I trust, to earthly 
sounds. As I never could have spoken to 
her while living, I spoke to her then ; con- 
fident that if she understood anything, she 
understood all ; and when, towards morn- 
ing, slumber stole away my waking senses, 
I dreamed that we were back in the old 
home at Lovedale, and that, with hand laid 
on my head, she was telling me to be a 
singer, if I liked. 

" Only be good, Annie — only be good," she 
said in conclusion ; and with those words 
ringing in my ears I awoke. 

Other sounds than dream voices, I soon 
found, had contributed to arouse me. Uncle 
Isaac was knocking vehemently at my door, 
and exclaiming — 

" Nannie, do you never intend to get up ? 
Herr Droigel has been down for an hour 
past. He has eaten a dozen nectarines and 



134 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

a quart of mulberries, and now says lie is 
ravenous for breakfast." 

'' Do not wait for me," I called out. 
" Give bim a gallon of milk and a quartern 
loaf I shall be dressed directly." 

My heart felt lighter than it had done 
for weeks past, and I spoke out of its glad- 
ness. I felt so thankful at the prospect of 
being delivered from Mrs. Mitchell and 
her estabhshment ; and yet still dreading 
I might be immindful of grannie, 
seemingly forgetful of her, I was forced 
to murmur — 

" Oh, grannie, don't think me wicked ! 
You know all about it now." 

Sing in that house I imagined I never 
coidd, but I meant to sing out of it. I was 
like a bird longing for the wild woods. 
Never before — never had I seen a chance of 
fully gratifying my wishes, of walking along 
the road I longed to travel. Much trouble 
had I caused hitherto ; trouble I meant to 
cause no longer. I had a gift, and I would 



IVE ARE ALL SATISFIED. 135 

"use it. I would be a ^vitch, and breathe 
golden guineas, to quote our German friend. 
I would do something to make my relations 
proud of me. If I were possessed of a four- 
leaved shamrock, why should I not weave 
my spells ? Why should I not leave the 
cottage, and go out mto the wide, wide 
world to seek my fortune, as other girls had 
done ? 

Why not, mdeed ? There had been but 
one obstacle ; and time, and my uncle, and 
my own understanding were fast obhterat- 
ing that. 

Rapidly I dressed and arranged my hair, 
and gave one last glance at the glass to see 
I was presentable, before descending into 
the room, where Herr Droigel — fat, rosy, 
and imiocent-lookiag — was sitting at the 
breakfast-table, complacently surveying the 
ruin he had wrought. 

A child might have played with that con- 
tented giant then, and I took advantage of 
my opportunity. 



136 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" HeiT Droigel," I began, " I have thought 
over all you said last night, and if you and 
my uncle still believe I ought to be a singei% 
I should like to be one." 

" Spoke I not so ?" asked the German, 
addressing his host. " Said I not this, 
' Miss Annie wants to sing ; she will come 
do^vn all bright and pleasant, with her little 
tempers gone, and smiling, give us to com- 
prehend she is willing now to do that which 
you choose — in other words, that which she 
wish to do herself?' Oh, what a delightful 
sex is woman ! How steadfast, how un- 
changeable, and how charming even in her 
fickleness !" 

Having concluded which sentence, Herr 
Droigel rose ; and taking my face between 
his immense hands, kissed me first on one 
cheek and then on the other. 

Had Herr Droigel's character been as 
well known a book to me then as it is now, 
I could have told liim that it is an easy 
matter for a man to be steadfast and un- 



IVE ARE ALL SATLSFIED. 137 

changeable if lie love no other created 
being, if he acknowledge no Creator, save 
himself — if he be his own all in all — the 
alpha and the omega of his fears and his 
hopes. But in those days I was young, as- 
the reader is aware, and I had not yet 
eaten of the fruit which teaches us that 
even fatness and apparent foolishness, joined 
to a thorough knowledge of music, are not 
convincing proofs that under the seeming 
innocence of a dove may not be hidden the 
subtle cunning of a serpent. 

Herr Droigel was no serpent, however ; 
he was merely a self-seeking money-wor- 
shipper ; and believing I should be worth 
gold to him, he kissed me, as stated, to my 
surprise, and to Uncle Isaac's intense 
amusement. 

Truth to tell, I think it was a relief 
to Uncle Isaac that at length my mind was 
made up. Since his mother's death, I had 
been to him something very much in the 
nature of a white elephant — a useful, not 



138 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

to say ornamental, animal, in some stations 
of life, but a decided encumbrance to a 
druggist and chemist in a seaport town, 
who could not take me back to his own 
home, and who could ill afford the time 
and expense involved in travelHng back- 
ward and forward to mine. 

So we were all pleased that morning : 
my uncle, because he could now consign me 
to the care of some one who, as he phrased 
it, knew more about girls and music than 
he ; Herr Droigel, for the simple reason 
(expressed) that he " hoped to see Miss 
Annie smile once more ;" and I, because I 
had compassed the wishes of both, and my 
own too. 

Already in my heart, as in the church- 
yard, the grass had commenced to spring 
over my grandmother's grave. Well, it is 
no sign of want of love that time should 
wear away the sharp edge of grief, and 
clothe with flowers and verdure the naked 
earth. Not even now, though the wound 



IVE ARE ALL SA TISFIED. 139 

is closed, the sorrow overpast, is the 
memory of that first, best, truest friend 
less dear to me than it was in the days 
when under the yew-tree I sat weeping 
and wailing for the dead, who could never, 
I knew, " return to me," but to whom 
I had forgotten " I might go." 




CHAPTER VII. 



A NEW LIFE. 




HAT the pecuniary terms may have 

been upon which Herr Droigel 

undertook " to adopt me as 

Gretchen's sister and his own loved child 

and pupil," I cannot now remember. 

Like everything else in which my uncle 
had a part, they were communicated to 
me at the time. 

Impossible though the middle-aged may 
find it to realize, there is a time of life 
when money seems the least good in exis- 
tence — when pounds, shillings, and pence 
form no part of youth's dreams, whether 
sleeping or waking — and it did not matter 
to me how much of my little fortune was 
to be spent in following that vision which 



A NEW LIFE. 141 



had been silently beckoning me for 
years. 

All I am now able to recollect about the 
matter is, that my uncle considered the 
remuneration Herr Droigel required ex- 
tremely reasonable. And reasonable, so 
far as represented by figures, I do not in 
the least doubt it was. The German 
was to board and lodge me, to instruct me 
in music, and to "love me as his own" — he 
added this last item verbally — for some 
small amount wliich seemed to my uncle 
absurdly low ; but then, as my new pro- 
prietor remarked with auy generosity — 

" If Miss has the sad fate of losing her 
voice — of disappointing the rich and pig- 
headed British patron — of dislikmg the 
artiste life, which is at once so social and so 
lonely, so grand in itself, so low in the mis- 
constructions of the ignorant — I do not 
wish that she shall return to this peaceful 
village — a beggar rendered penniless by 
Droigel. No, I name a price which means 



142 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

no loss to her, no gain to me. I put Miss 
Annie on the road to fortune. If she likes 
the road and is able to walk it, Droigel will 
share her success. If not, why then Droigel 
will have no reason to fear the dead grand- 
mother waking him at night, by asking 
what he has done with the httle one's 
portion. 

" I speculate, in fact," he proceeded, after 
an instant's pause, devoted doubtless to 
a contemplation of the ghostly presence he 
had himself conjured up. " I have come 
on 'Change. Here is a possible, a probable 
voice. See, I will teach it, I will feed it, I 
will house it, I will nurse it, I will give 
myself much trouble ; and then, if it make 
money, I shall go gleaning m its harvest 
time ; if it make not money — then it 
cannot be helped ; it will be a pity, that is 
aU." 

Whereupon Dr. Packman clapped his 
friend's immense shoulder, and said, " You 
are a fine feUow, Droigel ;" and my uncle 



A NEW LIFE. 143 



holding out his hand, remarked he con- 
sidered it a privilege to have known him ; 
in answer to which demonstrations of admi- 
ration Herr Droigel turned towards the 
window, wiped his eyes with a silk pocket- 
handkerchief, and then took a pinch of 
snuff out of Dr. Packman's box, and blew 
his nose loudly. 

For me, I was m a seventh heaven of 
delight. Once the matter was settled, 
Herr Droigel left me no time for regret. 

" The sooner Miss Annie begins her 
London career the better," he explained. 
" I do not mean to set her hard at work 
immediately. She will want to see the 
sights. We will go down to the river, 
where the mighty ships lie at anchor ; she 
must visit the Tower ; we will show her 
the Queen's palace, and all those great 
parks and wide streets, empty now, but 
filled in the season with lords and ladies, 
fine carriages, shining horses, footmen bril- 
liant as paroquets. She shall behold 



lU HOME, SWEET HOME. 

London with nobody in it, — bah ! nobody 
except some two million souls ; she shall 
meet more people in ten minutes than in 
this quiet Eden in ten months, and still she 
will see nobody, not till the season recom- 
mences, not till the Opera opens, not till 
I take her into fauyland, where rank and 
beauty congregate to listen to those so 
divine strams." 

Uncle Isaac was glad also at the idea 
of my leaving Alford. He wanted to be 
back in his shop, to return to his buying 
and selling, to making fortunes and earning 
livelihoods for those children of whom his 
quiver was so full. 

Already he had given me much of his 
time, and he was thankful, I believe, to 
feel that at length his responsibility was 
shifted to other shoulders. 

Nevertheless, when the hour of partmg 
came he took me in liis arms and held 
me close, as if afraid to let me go. After- 
wards he told me that for a moment he felt 



A NEW LIFE. 145 



as if he must recall his permission, as if 
it were too great a risk to let me thus 
go forth amongst strangers, a poor slight 
bark upon the waters of an unknown sea. 

But then he remembered it would all 
have" to be gone over again at some future 
period ; that I had no home I could stay in, 
no friends I could hve with ; that a change 
had been wrought by death which pre- 
vented a return to the former course of 
thmgs ; and so he restrained himself, and 
said, " Nan, you are going out into a new 
life, but do not forget the old ; you will 
make new friends, but never mistrust those 
you are leaving behmd you. If you are 
unhappy, if you dislike your Hfe in any 
way, write to me fi^ankly, freely, folly. No 
one shall see your letters except myself" 
And then he kissed me over and over 
again, and so we parted. 

" Weep, httle one ; never mind Droigel," 
said the Professor, compassionately, "It is 
a great big world this ; but there is always 

VOL. IL 10 



146 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

some tiny piece of its earth that seems 
fairer to us than any other part, be the 
other ever so beautiful. There are millions, 
billions, trillions of human beings fretting 
and fuming their little day ; but there is 
always one human being of whom the heart 
is fonder than of any other of the milhons. 
I understand all that. I am fat and old ; 
but I have had my tears, and my soul- 
aches — ach, yes !" 

This permission and encouragement were 
kindly meant, but had at once the effect of 
stoppmg aU outward evidence of my grief. 
It is human nature, I suppose, to do that 
which it is told not to do — not to do that 
which it is told to do ; and it was my 
human nature not to care to indulge in a 
grief such as had ever been gone tlirough 
by Herr Droigel. I was still young enough 
to beheve my own griefs to be entirely my 
own property ; and if, by exhibiting them, 
part possession came to be claimed by other 
people, I decided it was better to conceal 



A NEW LIFE. 147 



those treasures with which I desired no one 
to intermeddle. 

Unconsciously was beginning that dishke 
and distrust of sentimentaHty, of feelings 
worn on the sleeve, which stood me in such 
good stead in after life. I felt grateful 
towards Herr Droigel for his good inten- 
tions ; but I was too old to hke the notion 
of that huge German wiping (figuratively) 
my tears away. 

If a gii4 or a woman be not hysterical, 
she can cease crying if she choose. I was 
not hysterical, and at the end of Herr 
Droigel's sympathetic speech my eyes were 
dry. Whereupon he recommenced his in- 
dividual generalizing. I know no other 
combination of Enghsh words that wiU 
express my meaning. 

"How beautiful is the adaptability of 
youth !" he said, addressing everybody 
generally, and me, for want of a better 
listener, in particular. " What a provision 
of a bountiful Heaven, that the heavier the 

10—2 



148 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

shower the sooner it is over ! Consider 
this, Annie : how long is it since I found you 
weeping, like Kachel, not indeed for your 
children, but for your dear grandmother, 
who was more to you than many children ? 
You refused to be comforted ; you had but 
one pleasure, to sit on the grass and cry. 
Life had stopped himself for you. But 
time went on nevertheless, and the Miss 
Annie I knew first singing her little songs, 
is now walking hand in hand with Droigel, 
to begin a new life — a life so beautiful !" 

Herr Droigel described literally our way 
of proceeding. Hand clasped in hand, like a 
couple of children, or a pair of simpletons, we 
were crossing the field-paths to Great Alford. 

He had made it a point, that when I left 
the cottage I should leave likewise old 
associations and old faces. 

"I do not want to have the leave- 
takings," he said. " When she bids ' good- 
bye ' to the place, let her bid ' good-bye ' to 
the loved friends too ; after that trust 



A NEW LIFE. 149 



all to Droigel." The result of which was, 
that our luggage having been sent over 
to Great Alford, we followed after in the 
absurd fashion I have mentioned. 

There was no one there to see, however, 
and holding my small hand in his great one 
seemed to please the Professor ; so " hand 
in hand" we walked on together, whilst 
Herr Droigel poured forth quarts of con- 
versational froth. 

My experience of Germans was Hmited at 
that period — so limited, indeed, that Herr 
Droigel happened to be the only one with 
whom I had hitherto held converse ; never- 
theless my first experience warrants my last 
theory — namely, that let the circumstances 
under which one is placed with a German be 
what they will, he is certain to talk. 

The determination of the natives of that 
country to say somethmg, when no human 
being wants them to say anything, is per- 
fectly marvellous. As a rule they reserve 
all their thoughts for books or business ; as 



150 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

a rule they are totally destitute of any sense 
of humour ; but certainly as a rule they talk, ' 
or, perhaps, it would be better to say, babble. 
The stream is level and uninterestmg ; it is 
not fetid, it is not wise ; it is certainly not 
witty, though a perfectly unembarrassed 
mind may contrive to be amused with, not 
at it. 

The mystery would be why so astute a 
people should so seek to clothe themselves 
with a cloak of want of tact and dulness, 
were it not that the world may safely believe 
the Germans know their own business best. 

Herr Droigel did, at all events, and 
babbled on sweetly concerning the infinite 
wisdom and mercy of a Providence m whose 
existence I have not the shghtest reason to 
suppose he believed, until we reached the 
coach which was to convey us the first part 
of our way to London. 

Eailways have not yet arrived at the 
length of dehvering passengers at every 
house ; then there were several towns they 



A NEW LIFE. 151 



did. not condescend to notice. Great Alford 

' was one of those neglected. From that place 

to the nearest station we travelled by coach. 

On that coach — for we travelled outside, 
and I liked the journey — Herr Droigel made 
himself agreeable to guard and driver, and to 
his fellow-passengers. He spoke of me as 
his daughter, and people were kind in con- 
sequence. When we left the conveyance, it 
struck me, however, that both guard and 
coachman were not quite satisfied at sight of 
the extremely small coin of the realm with 
which he rewarded their services. Perhaps I 
was mistaken; perhaps his manner, lordly and 
free, had unduly raised their expectations. 

At the station this impression was not 
reproduced : porters are thankful for ex- 
tremely small gifts, and the twopence Herr 
Droigel gave — I know it was twopence, for 
I saw the amount placed in the hand of a 
servant of the company — seemed to afford 
that servant satisfaction, — perhaps because it 
was m contravention of the company's rules. 



152 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

Anyhow he took the twopence, and we 
were all pleased — I especially ; because the 
surly looks of guard and driver had some- 
what discomposed my equanimity. 

For the second time in my hfe I was in 
a railway carriage. How green the fields 
looked — how strange the hedges hurrying 
by — how frightened the cattle scurrying 
off at our approach — how wonderful the 
thronged stations — how strange it seemed 
to lose passengers and to gain others. 
What a new world to me. 

But after a few hours I grew tired of it. 
Nobody knew me, nobody cared for me, 
nobody looked at me, nobody spoke to me, 
save occasionally Herr Droigel, who slept a 
good deal, and got out at all the stations and 
made ineffectual attempts to open up conver- 
sations with fellow travellers who obviously 
distrusted and feared foreigners, and re- 
sponded in monosyllable; and so at last when 
evening closed in, I too fell asleep, and was 
only wakened by a horrible clamour, which 



A NEW LIFE. 153 



when I roused myself and listened atten- 
tively, meant, I found — 

" Tickets ready — all tickets here !" Then 
after a few minutes' panting and racing and 
screaming, the engine slackened speed and 
some one one said — 

" This is London;" and again I rubbed my 
eyes, and ahghted. 

In one of Miss Edgeworth's innocent 
plays, a boy is made to say — " I caimot see 
the town for houses." 

Miss Edgeworth m this sentence exactly 
defined my feehngs at first sight of London. 

I could not understand it ; and as we 
drove through street after street, and then 
through more streets, I who had never 
realized what a great city means, felt like 
the man who coming to a rapid river, sat 
down on the bank waiting for the stream 
to cease flowing. I was waiting to come to 
some place " where I could see the town," 
when our conveyance stopped. 

" Welcome to your new home, beloved 



154 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

Annie !" and so speaking, Herr Droigel led 
me up three steps and into a narrow hall, 
where we were met by a woman and a girl, 
whom Herr Droigel greeted, to my intense 
astonishment — I had learnt enough of his 
language to understand the meaning of a 
few substantives — as his wife and daughter. 

That Madam Droigel ! that Gretchen ! I 
could have wept, but that past experience 
had convinced me weeping was useless. 
Had I been possessed of sufficient courage, 
I should have rushed after our departing 
vehicle, and said, " Take me, oh, pray take 
me anywhere out of this world !" 

There was a large woman, without collar 
or tucker, who was kissed by Herr Droigel — 
a woman made and clothed in defiance of 
all rules then accepted, poor as, by com- 
parison with the present, was the best code 
of dress then known. There was Gretchen, 
untidy likewise — untidy beside me. 

Very much the advantage I felt at that 
moment of my well-fitting dress — ^the young 



A NEW LIFE. 155- 



and slight are so easy to fit : my neatly- 
pleated crape trimmings — my sorrowful 
bands — my close mourning bonnet, from 
which, no doubt, a pale face looked out 
sorrowfully. 

" How do you do, dear afflicted Miss 
Annie ?" said the woman without a tucker, 
kissing me with lips that smelt of garlic, 
and then presenting a full cheek in order 
that I might return her greeting. 

" How do you do, dear ?" said Miss 
Gretchen, rubbing her face against mine. 
" Aren't you tired ? Come upstairs. Should 
you like to have supper first, and go to bed 
afterwards ; or go to bed first, and have 
supper afterwards ?" 

" I should hke, if I might do so, to go to 
bed and have no supper," I answered, feebly. 

"Just as you please, dear one." 

" Thou art weary, is it not so ?" asked 
Madam Droigel, laying her plump hands on 
my shoulder. " Yes, go to bed, and I myself 
will bring thee up a cup of tea." 



166 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

"No, muder," interposed Gretchen, whose 
life was, as I found afterwards, spent in 
mimicking her father and mother's forms of 
speech. " I myself mean to wait upon Miss 
Annie. She is to have everything she 
wants, and nothing she does not want — to- 
night," added the young lady, with an 
ominous accent on the last word. "Is it 
not so ?" she asked, turning to her father. 

" To-night and all days and nights Miss 
Annie shall have everything she wants that 
I can give her," said Herr Droigel, with 
paternal tenderness. " My child, you are 
worn out. Go with my Gretchen. Gret- 
chen, be tender to this little fragile bud." 

" The bud shall be tenderly handled by 
me," answered his daughter ; and so saying, 
she led the way up to a room on the second 
floor, where, in the midst of a desert of bare 
boards, there was placed a small bedstead, 
a painted chest of drawers (above which 
hung a little glass), a rush-bottomed chair, 
a washhand-stand — provided with a jug 



A NEW LIFE. 157 



about the size of a cream ewer, and a basiii 
no larger than a soap-cup — comj^leted the 
furniture of this apartment. 

" You will be happy here ?" It is due to 
Miss Gretchen s common sense to say she 
asked the question doubtfully. 

I could not answer. If I had opened my 
lips to speak, I must have burst out crying ; 
and I did not want to cry. I looked round 
the bare room, and contrasted it with my 
little chamber at Lovedale, my larger and 
prettier apartment at Alford. 

Well, I had chosen I I had decided to 
give up everything for music. I had gone 
too far to turn back again. I could not 
have everything. 

" I will try to be happy," I said, after a 
pause, filled up by the thoughts mdicated. 
" I am sure you are very kind. It would 
be a shame if I did not try to be happy. " 

" You would not like me, I suppose, to 
call you ' Bud' ? " suggested Miss Gretchen ; 
" and so I ^ill not do it, though I shaH 



168 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

always think of you in connexion witli 
papa's simile. It must seem very strange 
to you at first. I only hope it will not all 
seem very disagreeable to you at last. I 
am so thankful you are not a foreigner ; 
I do hate foreigners. Your predecessor was 
a foreigner. Good heavens, how delighted 
I was when one day she tore up her music, 
and boxed papa's ears ! He can stand a 
great deal ; but he did not like having his 
ears boxed and liis face slapped ; so we got 
rid of Mademoiselle in double-quick time. 
There never was an allegro movement so 
cleverly performed in this house." 

" What was the matter— could not she 
learn ?" I inquired. 

" She would not learn," answered Miss 
Gretchen. " Papa said she might have 
done anything, if she had only been indus- 
trious ; but she was lazy to her very bones 
— lazy, and greedy, and ill-tempered. She 
once boxed my ears, but she did not attempt 
it a second time. She wanted me to wait 



A NEW LIFE. 159 



upon her, and I would not. She used to 
call us all devils, as calmly as if there were 
nothing unusual in such a mode of address. 
But I am keeping you up. I will leave 
you now, and come back in a quarter of an 
hour to see if you will drink that cup of tea 
I doubt not my mother is already brewing. " 

" TeU me," I said, detaining her, " tell 
me before you go, what you meant down- 
stairs when you remarked I was to have all 
I wanted to-night. Is Herr Droigel very, 
very severe ?" 

" Papa is not cross, if that is what you 
mean," the girl rephed. " He lets me do 
as I like. He would let you do as you like, 
if you did not, unluckily for yourself, 
happen to have a voice ; but as you have a 
voice, you will find him — how shall I put 
it ? — strict. You will have to serve your 
voice, if you can understand me ; eat for it, 
drink for it, walk for it, sleep for it, work 
for it ; and if you are not particularly fond 
of your voice, you may find all this shghtly 



160 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

tiresome. For me, I am humbly thankful 
to the Almighty for not having given me 
the shghtest ear for music." 

" I heard your father once make the 
same remark," I observed ; " but he imphed 
that you were not so satisfied about the 
matter as he." 

" My father is one of the most truthful 
men livmg," said Gretchen, calmly ; "to 
quote liis own expression, he is transparent ; 
but still you must not take everything even 
he says literally. There, I knew how it 
would be," she continued, rushmg to the 
door as a mellow cry of " Gretchen, mine 
own child !" came up the staircase. " That 
is to tell me the Bud must not be exhausted 
by conversation," she explamed, and having 
so explamed left me at last alone. 

Herr Droigel was as good as his word. 
He did not put harness on, and begin to 
drive me immediately. He took me to see 
the sights. We went up the river and 
dov^i it. We made so regular a business of 



A NEW LIFE. ' 161 



pleasure, that I soon got tired, and was 
glad when lessons began in earnest. 

But oh, what those lessons grew to 
be ! what that study of music proved ! 
what the cultivation of my voice really 
meant ! 

Most persons have an idea that nothing 
is so easy as to sing a song ; unless, indeed, 
it may be to write a book. When they 
hear of some prima donna receiving so much 
a note, they shake their heads and say — 

" People who work hard cannot earn 
money so easily as that." 

Whilst the fact is, there are no people 
who have to work so hard as those who 
earn their bread by discoursing sweet 
sounds. 

It is, indeed, utterly impossible for any 
person outside the musical profession to 
form the famtest idea of the drudgery 
which must be gone through before even a 
small success can be achieved. The un- 
initiated hear what the prima donna is paid 

VOL. II. 11 



162 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

per note, but they can never know what 
that note cost the prima donna. 

No one either can ever know what my 
notes cost me ; the toil, the vexation of 
spirit. I shudder when I recall those 
lessons. I sicken at the memory of Herr 
Droigel's despair when he found that, phy- 
sically, I was unable to bear the burden of 
the tasks he put upon me. I seem to dread 
once more the sound of the word " health," 
and, ill with nothing but utter exhaustion,. 
I lie again on my bed, with Gretchen bath- 
ing my temples with eau-de-cologne, and 
renewing her thanks to Providence that it 
was not of the least use her father ever 
attempting to teach her to smg. 

And yet, in spite of all the work and all 
the hardship, I was happier than I had ever 
been in my life before. I drank-m music, 
and I was content. The vague longings, 
the yeammg for somethmg my lot did not 
hold, were satisfied at length. 

Youth makes little account of want of 



A NEW LIFE. 163 



bodily comfort, so long as heart and soul 
are filled. My heart was not empty. I 
had long letters, tender and wise, from my 
uncle. I made friends, as he prophesied 
would be the case. I grew very fond of 
Gretchen, and she at length grew so fond of 
me, that out of pure love she brushed her 
hair, and kept her shoes up at heel, and 
mended her dresses, and would have made 
the house tidy, had father or mother wished 
it to be so. 

But neither father nor mother had the 
slightest desire for anything of the kind. 

They were never happy if by chance 
their surroundings were in order. They 
rejoiced to live in a perpetual hurricane of 
disorder. Herr Droigel did the cookuig. 
When he was not eating, smoking, singmg, 
or teaching, or sleeping, he was m the 
kitchen. Madame Droigel did nothmg. 
During the entire time I hved m that 
house, I never saw her even attempt to do 

11—2 



164 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

an3rthing, unless, indeed, to assist in laying 
the cloth. 

The rooms were kept in order, or sup- 
posed to be kept in order, by a succession 
of small maids-of-all-work, who might, 
judging from their innate depravity, capa- 
city for breakage, grimy countenances, and 
unkempt locks, have all been eggs out of 
one nest. 

Jane went, and Sophy succeeded, and 
Kate followed after ; but there was no 
difference, except in name. They were all, 
as Madame Droigel, who set them such an 
admirable example, remarked, " idle sluts " 
— in vituperation, Madame's Enghsh was 
remarkably strong. 

Once we had a grown-up servant — trim, 
active, cleanly ; a being so superior to all 
who had gone before, that, hearing Gret- 
chen's report, I went down into the base- 
ment to have a look at her. 

There she was, actually scrubbing out the 
pots. For thirty-six hours we retained 



A NEW LIFE. 165 



that treasure. At the end of that period 
she had threatened to pm the dishcloth to 
Herr Droigel's coat-tails. She had re- 
quested Madame Droigel to place her on 
board-wages, in order that she might pro- 
cure some food fit for a Christian (meaning 
herself) to eat. She had informed Gretchen 
that where she lived previously, when 
young ladies wanted anything they rang 
for it, and did not scream after servants as 
she did ; whilst she took the duster, where- 
with it had been my wont to employ my few 
leisure minutes in the mornings, into her 
possession, intimating at the same time her 
opinion that I had enough work of my own 
to do, without interfering with hers. 

As for Gretchen and myself, we would 
thankfully have compHed with her wishes, 
and told her so, with a deference which, I 
think, touched her feelmgs. But Herr 
Droigel could not consent to leave her in 
undisputed possession of the kitchen ; and 
Madame was hurt at her expressed opinions 



166 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

on the subject of foreign messes. So she 
departed, and we returned to our Janes 
and Sophias and Kates. 

Herr Droigel that evening prepared for 
our delectation a dish more unspeakably 
nasty than it had yet fallen to my lot to 
taste ; whilst Madame his wife donned — 
probably in honour of being mistress in her 
own house once more — a black-silk dress so 
hopelessly denuded of hooks, that even she 
was fain to hide its gaping back from sight 
\)j means of a faded crape shawl. 




CHAPTER VIII. 



AN OLD FRIEND. 




far from finding that tlie lapse of 

time reconciled me to the peculiar 

habits of Herr Droigel and his 

wife, intimate association with them only 

produced a feelmg of greater and ever 

greater amazement. 

For days and days together, Herr 
Droigel, so active a pedestrian at Alford, 
would not stir outside the haU-door ; and 
when his " stay-at-home fit," as Gretchen 
called it, was on him, he never thought 
it necessary to wash or shave, or even 
dress. 

I have been privileged to see that now 
distinguished Doctor of Music in the very 
scantiest raiment a human being could well 



168 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

go about in — as near nudity, in fact, as our 
absurd civilization would permit. 

At first I was surprised and shocked, if 
so strong an expression befits the circum- 
stance ; but I soon began to consider that 
if Herr Droigel did not mind his deshabille, 
why should I ? 

He was the person who ought to have 
felt disconcerted ; and if, so far from being 
disconcerted, he revelled in it, would it not 
have been presumptuous for me to set up 
my judgment in opposition to his ? 

Once — it was late on an autumn after- 
noon — a brougham drove up to our door, 
and a gentleman alighted, who was shown 
into the drawing-room, and who gave a 
name to the servant which was evidently 
unfamiliar to my master. 

With many groans, and Gotts, and 
Himmels, the Professor betook himself to 
his bedroom, whilst Gretchen rushed down- 
stairs for warm water, and Madame hurried 
upstairs, rending her dress on a nail by 



AN OLD FRIEND. 169> 

the way, to look her beloved out clean 
linen. 

He had shaved himself ; he had got on a 
pair of black trousers ; he was about to 
incase his feet in boots, when suddenly a 
cheery voice resounded through the house. 

" Droigel ! Droigel ! why the deuce don't 
you come to me ? I can't wait for you all 
day." 

As when a soldier, preparing to meet an 
enemy, hears the familiar watchword,, 
beholds an accustomed uniform, changes 
his defensive attitude, so the Professor, at 
sound of that voice, dropped his boots, 
resumed his shppers, and in all the glory of" 
a clean shirt, destitute of a collar, and 
wristbands still unbuttoned, darted from 
his room. 

Not for me is it to chronicle the expres- 
sions with which that usually peaceable 
man prefaced his sentence. Suffice it to 
say that neither Gott nor Himmel had any 
part or parcel in them. 



170 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

'' Why did you not say who you was, 
that so I need not to have dressed ?" he 
asked, and there was an agony of reproach 
in his voice, which seemed, however, to fail 
in touching his hearer's sympathies. 

" Dressed ! by Jove, I don't know about 
that !" was his visitor's reply. " Seems to 
me you couldn't have much less on, unless 
you were in your birthday garments." 

Then the door shut, and Gretchen, 
standing on the top of the first flight of 
stairs, and I, standing in the hall, burst 
into a peal of laughter, which I afterwards 
knew elucidated from Herr Droigel the 
remark — 

" There goes my babies ; they must have 
their laugh at the fat papa." 

It always seemed to me a pity that 
Madame Droigel did not join together, or 
permit us to join together, two of her 
black quilted petticoats for her husband's 
use. Had she done so, I am sure he would 
have donned the garment with a charming 



AN OLD FRIEND. 171 

unconsciousness of any ridicule which might 
appear to attach to it, and waddled about 
the kitchen in a state of intense dehght. 
As it was, he prepared various delicacies 
for our table m a dress, or rather undress, 
the particulars of which would scarcely bear 
reproduction here, and which filled me, as I 
have said, with an ever-increasing sense of 
amazement. 

Cannot I, glancing over my shoulder 
from the square pianoforte before which I 
was seated, see him now, ay, and hear him, 
as jfrom the fireplace, where he is concocting 
some particularly nasty cuHnary mess, he 
bellows an entreaty for me to mind what I 
am about or a malediction on any specially 
pernicious vocal habit into which I have 
fallen. 

Once again I behold the worn, greasy, 
shabby grey dressmg-gown fastened round 
his ample waist by a cord formerly com- 
posed of strands of many colours, but now 
faded and duty ; the sHppers, old friends. 



172 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

old and trusted, well tramped down at the 
heel, are a visible presence ; over them 
hang socks, put on but never pulled up ; 
and then, towering above all, the self-made 
drawbacks of his life, and his belongings, 
and his dress, rises the large grand head, 
which holds so much knowledge, worldly 
and otherwise, and has, to my thmking, 
made so little out of it all. 

His intellect, his genius, his art, were 
sufficient to invest even that untidy house 
with a charm of novelty and romance. 

His disquisitions on dismterestedness, 
upon the abominable characteristics of 
selfishness, upon the detestable nature of 
people who told untiTiths, delighted, and 
I regret to say, imposed upon me. 

Viewing his character calmly, after the 
lapse of years — looking at him through 
the grey-tmted neutral glasses with which 
Time kindly provides most of us — I think 
Herr Droigel's three strong passions were 
love of eating, love of ease, love of money. 



AN OLD FRIEND. 173 

I do not believe any one predominated over 
the other. If he had a fourth passion, it 
was one so characteristic of all his com- 
patriots, that it seems scarcely worth 
mentioning : he loved diplomacy. 

So to speak, he never passed through a 
gate when there was a gap in a hedge he 
could creep through, or a roundabout path 
he could traverse ; but then this is charac- 
teristic of his nation. Perhaps it is one 
cause of their supremacy at the present 
moment. Heaven grant it may be a very 
proximate cause of their downfall hereafter 
— the downfall of the nation at large, as it 
has proved over and over again of indi- 
viduals composing that nation ! 

As for Madame Droigel, she was ex- 
tracted from a depth of insufficiency which 
no pure German could, so far as my know- 
ledge of the race extends, hope to fathom or 
understand. 

She was the daughter of German parents, 
born in England — parents hard-working, 



174 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

but destitute of brains. Madame Droigel 
lacked both brains and the capacity for 
hard-work ; and the result was the woman 
in whose house I became domesticated. 

From this pair was ehmmated Gretchen 
— a young lady who, like her father, loved 
ease, and who, when I first knew the 
Droigels, was fast following m the footsteps 
of her mother. 

Out of the house, indeed, her apparel was 
gorgeous. She arrayed herself in the height 
of the fashion, whatever that fashion might 
chance to be. She affected the showiest 
colours, and was, indeed, in all respects, 
a very dashing and conspicuous young 
person. 

Indoors, however, she was down at heel, 
collarless, untidy, grimy, until, as has been 
stated, out of pure love for me, she began 
mending her ways and her stockings, put 
in the typical stitch in time, dressed herself 
completely even for breakfast, and improved 
her general appearance so greatly, that Herr 



AN OLD FRIEND. 175 

Droigel began to survey her critically, and 
to exclaim regretfully — 

" Hadst thou but possessed a voice, 
Gretchen, thou mightst have played at foot- 
ball with the world." 

"But I do not care for football," an- 
swered easy-tempered, unambitious Gret- 
chen. " Here is Annie, she shall achieve 
fame, and earn money enough for us all." 

" Ah, child, our loved Annie has a sweet 
voice, and can sing her little songs when 
she is in the mood adorably ; but with your 
presence, ach, Himmel, what might you not 
have done T 

" Gone on the stage, I presume," mter- 
rupted Gretchen. " Gone on the stage 
and screamed before the footlights. That 
is not my idea of happmess at all. I 
want to find somebody who has ten thousand 
a year, and get him to marry me, that I 
may have what I wish, and do nothing for 
the remainder of my life. " 

And Miss Gretchen tossed up her head. 



176 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

clothed with its German glory of golden 
plaits, having thus explicitly stated her 
desires, whilst Herr Droigel, after taking 
once more a critical inventory of her charms, 
and considering how irresistible they would 
have proved in conjunction with a good 
voice, uttered a dolorous " Ach !" and re- 
lapsed into silence. 

Not by any direct sentence, not indeed 
by any sentence at all, did Herr Droigel 
gradually impress upon me the fact that my 
"presence" was not one calculated to curry 
favour with the British public. I was quick 
enough to understand that though the life 
of a singer of ballads had once been the 
extent of his hopes for me, still a brief period 
ensued when he fancied London and himself 
might have stimulated and gratified me to 
aspire to higher flights still. 

And he had to abandon that expectation. 
I should never be more than a singer of 
songs — able to earn my five or ten guineas 



AN OLD FRIEND. 177 

for an evening — and then " evenings are not 
always," sighed Herr Droigel. 

" God is good," he explained to me once ; 
" but he does not give to us everything we 
want." And then I fully understood that 
my master believed my voice and myself 
were mismated — that, to put it differently, 
but more plainly, had Herr Droigel been 
intrusted with my creation, he would have 
put my voice into Gretchen's body, or vice 
versa. 

In any event he would have conjoined 
the two. 

As for Gretchen, she was, and it pleases 
me to add, is one of the most amiable of 
created beings. Go to her when you will, 
see her under any circumstances, meet her 
in any place, she is still charming. She is 
one of those fortunate beings who, having 
accepted no responsibilities, never meets 
you with an anxiety, present or anticipated, 
clouding her brow. 

Golden hair, blue eyes, transparent ccm- 
VOL. II. 12 



178 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

plexion, good features, a large well-de- 
veloped person, and a calm heifer-like 
demeanour, have in her case done wonders. 

If she failed to reach the desired ten 
thousand a year, at least she has done re- 
markably well in the matrimonial market. 

Only the other evening we sat together 
in her dressing-room — ^her maid was dis- 
missed — her long fair hair floated placidly 
over her shoulders ; the dear papa we knew 
was smoking downstairs, and helping the 
esteemed husband to empty the remains of 
a specially esteemed bottle of cognac. 

Peace reigned — the children, under the 
charge of a highly-paid and respectable 
nurse, slept the sleep of infancy, and Gret- 
chen, large and calm, surveyed with com- 
placent eyes the fire another's exertions had 
kindled and kept lighted for her. 

" A charming home tliis is, mia cara," I 
remarked. 

" Yes," she answered ; "and but for you 
I should never have called it mine. When 



AN OLD FRIEND. 179 

I think of that home and myself as you first 
knew it and me, I blush; but you have 
been the most loyal of human beings ; 

otherwise " and she paused m a sort of 

horrified silence. 

She will never read this book ; she never 
reads anythmg, neither does her husband ; 
thus far and a great deal farther they are 
well mated, and therefore I thmk I may 
say, without fear of contradiction, I made 
Gretchen Droigel. 

All unwittmgiy, I, who had myself risen 
from so poor an estate, taught her les con- 
venances of society — taught her that people 
who wish to conquer the world must con- 
sider its prejudices ; instilled into her a 
behef that unkempt hau" and careless dress 
are not merely untidy but impolitic ; that in 
this world very few people in any rank can 
afibrd to be eccentric or natural, if their 
naturalness separate them in the smallest 
degree from theu- fellows. 

I have been loyal to Gretchen. Through 

12—3 



180 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

me she made her mark, and has retained it 
unmolested ever since. She is not the 
bright, piquant companion I can recollect. 
Her sense of humour is blunted. Her 
ideas of propriety are strong. Altogether 
I do not care much for Gretchen now, and 
am always glad when her visits terminate. 
Nevertheless, artistic though my nature 
may be (she tells me it is so), I am suf- 
ficiently English to remember old times, 
and remembering, I am always rejoiced to 
see the carriage appear which is to bear 
Juno and her offspring away from my door. 

It seems to me I breathe more freely 
even in a worse atmosphere. It seems to 
me I ought never to have been admitted 
into decent society, seeing how impatient I 
feel when the feet and the inches of social 
propriety are laid in measurement against 
my daily hfe. 

The course of the existence I have to 
record, however, is not that of Gretchen. 
It is mine own. 



AN OLD FRIEND. 181 

Mine own as it was then — clipped of its 
sentiment, shorn of its romance, by Herr 
Droigel. 

If I walked, he or Gretchen must accom- 
pany me ; if his friends called, he expected 
I should retire from the room ; if I went to 
church, he exacted a promise from me that 
I should sing no praises to the God who 
had been a very present help to me in 
trouble — a sufficient refuge from my earliest 
youth. Acquaintances of my own I had 
none : he gave me no chance of making any. 
I practised in a back room. I exercised my 
voice to the dismay of right and left neigh- 
bours who were undiscrimmating. 

During the time I lived with Herr 
Droigel, man did not hear, nor woman 
either, any of my " Kttle songs." I know 
now that the Professor dreaded lest some 
one should snatch me out of his hand and 
reap the harvest he designed to garner for 
liimself ; but then I accepted in good faith 
his statement that he feared my get- 



182 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

ting into bad habits, that he did not wish 
me to exert my voice unduly. 

"Wlien it is strong, quite strong, and 
you are strong also, then let us take the 
pubhc into our confidence ; but till then we 
must be careful so much." 

Nevertheless, spite of all his caution, 
the fact that one of Herr Droigel's " babies'* 
was destined for the musical profession oozed 
out. Curious glances began to be cast upon 
me ; inquiries were made concerning me, as 
thus — 

"I say, Droigel, who is that gM you 
keep so much in the background \ She is 
not your child, I know. A wonder, eh T 

" She is mine child by adoption," the 
Professor answered ; "and she is a wonder 
of goodness and amiabihty. She is alone 
in the world except for me and my wife 
and Gretchen, and an uncle so kind, so 
true. Poor Httle Amiie !" 

Whereupon his visitor burst into a fit of 
laughter, and exclaimed, " Bravo, Droigel I 



AN OLD FRIEND. 183 

You are inimitable ; but what is the use of 
trying to humbug me ? You are teaching 
the girl to sing, I suppose, and expect to 
make a pot of money out of her." 

This Gretchen told me — this and other 
speeches like unto it — adding on her own 
account — 

" I am dying to know when the curtain 
is to draw up, and the performance begin. 
Never before did I take the smallest inte- 
rest in one of papa's pupils ; but I would 
give anything to see you stand up and sing 
before thousands of people. I should be as 
nervous as mamma when she hears a mouse 
in the room." 

" Has Herr Droigel had many pupils T 
I inquired. 

" Lots," was the answer — " lots that he 
has improved and finished ; but not many 
from the beginning, like you. Once he 
picked up a pearl — Mdlle. Baroillie. She 
was a wonder, I beheve. I was a tiny bit 
of a thing at the time, and can scarcely 



184 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

remember her. But she made all our 
fortunes. She lost her voice the third 
season she appeared, and had to leave the 
stage ; but papa had got a quantity of 
money out of her voice before that. We 
lived in a very different house from this 
then. Do you know we were once quite 
rich ? But papa speculated, and lost all 
he had. He is always making and losing. 
If you tiu-n out a success, he wont be in 
the least better off at the end of five years." 

" Gretchen, suppose I should not be a 
success, what would your father say then ?" 

" He would never forgive you," she an- 
swered ; " and for that matter, neither, I 
think, should I ; for my heart is set on 
your achieving a triimiph. But you musn't 
be afraid. Papa knows what he is about ; 
and he would never have taken you on the 
terms he did, had he not been certain you 
would do well both for yourself and him. 
Of course, as you are not being trained for 
the stage, you will never make a success 



AN OLD FRIEND. 185 

like Mademoiselle ; but papa's idea is, I 
fancy, to make you sing in oratorios and 
those sort of things. You will see if I am 
not right." 

And so she went on chattering, quite 
unconscious that the desire of my heart 
was to smg on the stage, to utter those 
heart-thriUing notes I listened to with 
bated breath when uttered by others ; for 
at last Herr Droigel had fulfilled his pro- 
mise, and taken me to the Opera. 

Never shall I forget that night. Three 
years I had been in London, and for some 
reason, which is still a mystery to me, my 
master, whilst always expressing his inten- 
tion of giving his "little ones" a treat, 
seemed to make a point of deferring that 
treat as long as possible. One day, how- 
ever, he begged " dear mamma" to make 
herself and us as handsome as possible, 

" We go to hear Serlini," he explained ; 
" and mine old pupil and still good friend 
Oivoma has sent me a box. Ha, Miss Annie, 



186 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

what say you now ! — long-wished for come 
at last. Such a treat ! such an actor ! such 
an actress ! and, ach Gott, such singers too ! 
We must all put on our best bibs and 
tuckers. Ah, you laugh ! You are always 
laughing at Droigel. You are a naughty 
gui, Miss Annie, for all your grave face 
and demure Uttle ways — always making 
fun of the fat old master who is teaching 
you so much." 

'' Don't get pathetic, papa, "said Gretchen, 
"or you will make Annie cry." And then 
she took hun round the neck, and kissed 
first one cheek and then the other, after 
which she executed a 'pas seul roiuid the 
table, finishmg her performances by waltzing 
me out of the room, m order to look up our 
finery. 

" Ah, Heaven, what a pity! what a pity!" 
said the Professor, following her movements 
with a melancholy pride. 

" That I have no voice," panted Gretchen, 
pausing. "It is a pity ; for had I pos- 



AN OLD FRIEND. 187 

sessed one, I might have become another 
Serlini." 

" Ach, no," answered her father ; " there 
is but one Serhni ; there will never be no 
other." 

" The mould was broken up after she was 
created," remarked Miss Gretchen, gaily. 
" There is but one Serlini, and Herr Droigel 
is her prophet and Annie her worshipper." 

" Will one of you two girls sew my body 
into my blue-silk skirt ?" asked Madame, in 
her broken EngHsh. Born in the country, 
she had never learnt to speak its language 
any better than her father and mother had 
done before her. 

" Yes," answered Gretchen ; " one of us 
two girls — Annie, to wit — will perform the 
surgical operation you have mentioned." 

Not without difficulty did we succeed in 
so dressing Madame as to render her pre- 
sentable ; but when at length her toilette 
was completed, and Herr Droigel admitted 
to a private view, his satisfaction could 



188 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

only find expression in a Babel of language 
I dare not attempt to reproduce. 

She was charming ; she was beautiful as 
in her first youth. No one would believe 
she could ever have chosen such a fat 
awkward husband as poor Droigel. 

Proud girls were we as we looked and 
listened and laughed. Happy girls when, 
dressed m all our best, we squeezed our- 
selves together as Herr Droigel's huge 
body, coming into the cab, tightened us up 
as though he were a cramp. 

" I don't believe it is real — I don't be- 
lieve we shall ever get there," said Gretchen, 
looking radiantly pretty. 

She but expressed my feehngs. I kept 
tight hold of her hand, and had to say 
perpetually to myself, " I am gomg to the 
Opera," in order to feel I was not dream- 
ing. I had done the same thing in Fair- 
port years and years before. Had time 
gone back ? Was I walking once again 
witliin sound of the murmuring sea ? For 



AN OLD FRIEND. 189> 

a moment as I closed my eyes the illusion 
seemed perfect, but when I opened them, 
wet with tears, I beheld the thronged 
streets, the bright gasHght, the thousands 
hurrying this way and that. 

The night which came back to my me- 
mory so vividly had wrought all this change 
in my hfe. From quiet Lovedale to London 
was a transition not more extraordinary 
than that I, the country-bred child, reared 
in such seclusion, fenced round with preju- 
dices and loving strictness, should be now 
in training for a pubHc singer ! 

Let speculators build as many new opera- 
houses as they please, they will never raise 
another edifice so dear to the hearts of a 
former generation as Her Majesty's. 

It is all very well for young and flippant 
writers to speak of the Dust-hole in the 
Haymarket, but can they crowd another 
house with the memories and the traditions 
it contained ? 

What actors and actresses have trod 



190 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

those boards ! what floods of melody have 
been poured forth under its roof! what 
stories, sinful and tragic and pitiful, have 
been played out behind the scenes ! what 
gay, and witty, and sorrowful, and gloomy, 
and distinguished, and wicked men and 
women have jostled each other in the crush- 
room ! 

It was fitting that when the time came 
for the old house to pass away, fire should 
have been the agent for its destruction. 

Wlio that loved Her Majesty's — and 
what veteran opera-goer failed to do so ? — 
could have endured to behold the building 
torn limb from hmb by callous workmen, 
its properties sold, its stage pulled down, 
its scenery carted off", its boxes sold for 
firewood ? 

" Better so," I believe, must have been 
the second thought of every man and woman 
who had memories comiected with the dear 
old opera-house. The first thought natu- 
rally was one of regret ; the next, that 



AN OLD FRIEND. ^ 191 

as its days could not in any event have 
been long in the land, it had perished so 
gloriously. 

Fairyland had the poor httle theatre at 
Fairport seemed to me that evening when 
I entered it with my uncle. 

If there be a seventh heaven of fairyland, 
I entered it that night with Herr Droigel. 
To others the gilding and the paint might 
have seemed dingy and the curtains faded, 
but to me they were fresh, and bright, and 
beautiful. 

We were all kings and queens and prin- 
cesses in our box. Herr Droigel arrayed so 
carefully that it seemed impossible to asso- 
ciate him and the word deshabille together; 
Madame clad in many colours, a style of 
costume which suited her ; Gretchen and 
myself simply attired as became our youth, 
but still dressed for the evening, and look- 
ing as well as our neighbours. 

The opera was Les Huguenots. Shall I 
ever forget it as then performed, ever lose 



192 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

the memory of how Serlini sung, and Givorna 
sustained liis part ? To the end of my life 
I shall recoUect the clapping, the encores, 
the bouquets, the frantic applause which 
greeted the prima donna. 

" Ah !" exclaimed Herr Droigel, as she 
at length retired from the stage half con- 
cealed by flowers, " that is a hfe worth 
living for, the only life worth having." 

As for me, I could not speak ; my very 
soul seemed to have left me and gone out 
to seek that woman who, marvellous when 
I first heard her, had since developed 
powers which rendered Herr Droigel's re- 
mark of there being but one Serlini no 
exaggeration. 

There never Avas her equal before, there 
never will be her equal again. Voice, cul- 
ture, passion, pathos, beauty, grace, all 
these she combined in her own person. 

She has gone, and left no copy of herself. 
Never for ever will another Serlini cross an 
English or any other stage. 



AN OLD FRIEND. 193 

After that night it so happened that 
•other tickets were sent, and we went twice 
again that season to the Opera. Then 
Herr Droigel remarking that late hours 
.and a summer in London were destroying 
his sweet Annie's good looks, we suddenly 
packed up and transported ourselves to the 
: sea-side. 

There, however, my lessons still con- 
tmued. We had a detached cottage and a 
hired piano, and my master divided his 
time between composing music and finding 
fault with me. 

" Depend upon it," said Gretchen, who 
understood the signs of her father s baro- 
meter, " he intends to bring you out next 
season. He is not quite satisfied as to the 
prudence of his determination, but he has 
resolved to risk the plunge." 
" " But if I should fail," I suggested. 

" Psha !" she repHed ; " you wont fail 
unless you wish to do so. We all know 
that." 

VOL. II. 13 



194 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" But it is SO soon," I murmured. 

" It is like having a tooth out," she 
rephed ; "the sooner the operation is over 
the sooner you will be at ease. Listen 
to me, Annie," she went on. " You are 
one of those absurd girls who ought to 
have a father and mother and half a dozen 
brothers and sisters to maintain, in which 
case you would be so anxious to earn money 
that you would forget yourself and every- 
thing except money. Now you profess to 
be fond of me, and I believe you are ; 
therefore, the moment you get up to sing^ 
think, ' I am smging for Gretchen. If I 
succeed she will be happy ; if I fail, times 
will not be good with her.' Say to yourself, 
' I am singing to give Gretchen a dot ; if I 
get an encore, that means happiness and 
ease to the Droigels. They have mvested 
in me — if I turn out a poor affair, they lose 
both hope and money; whereas if I succeed 
we — they and I — will be rich and pros- 
perous and content.' " 



AN OLD FRIEND. 195 

When I think over all this now, it seems 
to me that a portion at least of Herr 
Droigel's mantle had fallen upon Gretchen, 
that, like her- father, she was wise in her 
generation ; and yet, why should I blame 
the girl ? She was getting, I doubt not, 
weary of comparative poverty, and she 
looked to me as a certain deliverer. 

Still, if I failed ! That idea was ever 
present with me whilst practising and 
taking my lessons ; but whenever I could 
sing out the songs I fancied, all alone by my- 
self, no doubt of success entered my mind. 

Chafed and worn and mortified, and 
scolded by Herr Droigel, music was one 
thing. Sung as I listed — without teacher 
or critic — it proved quite another. 

And in this way I was, one afternoon, 
screaming out to myself an aria from the 
last opera we had heard — shrieking, de- 
claiming, in my own poor maimer travesty- 
ing the brilliant prima donna. 

The house, to all intents and purposes, I 

13—2 



196 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

had to myself — for there was only one 
woman in it, and she nearly deaf. 

Two days previously, Herr Droigel had, 
with many protestations of regret, and as- 
surances of his unalterable attachment for 
us mdividually and collectively, left our 
temporary home for London. 

Madame and Gretchen were out boating, 
and I was doing what I dared not have 
done had the Professor been within sound 
of my voice, trying over song after song, 
humming the easiest parts, skipping the 
most difficult, slurring over brilliant pas- 
sages — " ganging my ain gait," in fact, in 
defiance of all commands, entreaties, and 
injunctions ; and it is needless to add, 
enjoying myself thoroughly. 

At length I came to one of the most 
lovely of operatic melodies — one which I 
had heard sung by Madame Serlini a short 
time before we left town. 

As I played the symphony, every tone 
of voice, every turn of expression, seemed 



AN OLD FRIEND. 197 

to come back to my memory ; and flinging 
aside the repression I always felt when 
singing to Herr Droigel, I broke out with a 
power of voice and a strength of passion to 
which I had never before given utterance 
since I left Alford. 

When the last note died away, as it 
was intended to do, in almost a sob, Herr 
Droigel put his head through the open 
window, and said — 
" Go on." 

Instead of going on, I jumped up from 
the piano, upset the music m my fright, 
and was essajdng to collect the scattered 
sheets when my master entered the room. 

" Go on," he repeated ; "if you can sing 
like that, always smg the same — do you 
hear — repeat that for me similar once 
ao^ain." 

He might as well have told me to stand 
on my head. 

" What is the matter with you, child V 
he exclaimed. " What are you trembling 



198 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

about ? Why for do you fear Droigel ? 
Am I a monster that you shake and shiver ? 
Have I beat you ? have I spoken hard 
words to you ? have I not been kind to you 
as to Gretchen ? Come, tell me what it is 
I have done that you can sing well the 
moment my back is tui'ned, and then, when 
I do show myself, you turn white, as if you 
did see one ghost." 

" When I am singing to you," I an- 
swered, " I feel I am always gomg wrong." 

" And so you do go wrong often, and it 
is my right to tell you that ; but because I 
do tell you, that is no reason why you 
should shut up yoiu- voice in a box, and 
only let it out through one tiny hole. 
Come here, close to the hght — stand — so 
— that will do. I want to look at you." 

And he did. He looked at me from 
head to foot ; he measured my inches with 
his eye ; he mentally criticized my figure, 
which must, in comparison to his, have 



AN OLD FRIEND. 19» 

seemed about as slight as a slate-pencil ; he 
gazed thoughtfully at my face ; with his 
hand under my chin, he examined my 
features closely ; and then with a sigh he 
patted my shoulder, and said, sadly — 

" No ; it would be a waste of power and 
time. For that a woman must have a pre- 
sence, or she must have piquancy. If di- 
minutive, she should be bright, and arch, 
and pert, and coquettish. At the bottom 
of that sort of success there is always a 
devil, and thou hast no devil, Annie. If 
we could put one into thee, all might be 
different. Bah ! what a stupid head I am 
to babble such folly ! Let us go out and 
have a walk in this dehghtful am Let us 
forget music and the world, and fancy we 
are back in happy Alford once again." 

As we paced along, the fresh sea-breeze 
blowmg m our faces, Herr Droigel, anxious 
apparently to dissipate that feeling of re- 
straint which a pupil always, I thmk, feels 



200 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

towards a teacher, and which increases in- 
stead of decreasing as time goes by, ex- 
erted himself to amuse and interest me. 

He could talk well when he thought fit 
to drop his absurd mannerisms and to dis- 
course like an ordinary human being, and 
he chose on that day to speak about sub- 
jects which had a great fascination for me. 

He told me concerning his youth ; he de- 
scribed his birthplace ; we lingered together- 
in foreign cathedrals ; he had much to say 
about the celebrated men and women with 
whom he had come m contact. 

Never did I enjoy a walk more, and I 
was telling hun so while we slowly clunbed 
the hill on the top of which our cottage 
stood perched, when a small pony-chaise 
containing two persons, a lady and a gen- 
tleman, passed us. 

Something in the lady's face seemed 
famihar to me. Something in mme ap- 
parently was familiar to her, for she said tO' 



AN OLD FRIEND. 201 

her companion, without in the least lower- 
ing her tone — 

" Stop the pony, George, and let those- 
people overtake us. I think I know the 
girl ;" and turning round she stared at me 
fixedly for an instant before exclaiming, 
" Yes, it is Httle Trenet. What in the 
world are you doing here T And jumping 
to the ground she took both my hands 
in hers, saying at the same time, " You 
have forgotten me ; you cannot remember 
who I am." 

" I have not forgotten you. Miss Cleeves,'* 
I answered ; " you are not changed in the 
least!" 



CHAPTER IX. 



OUTFLANKED. 




ND you," retorted Miss Cleeves, " are 
not altered one atom. I do not be- 
lieve you have grown an inch taller, 
and you are the same cold-blooded animal 
who used to sit on stones in the middle of 
the Love, looking like a limpet, all the 
while you were singing like a mermaid." 

Hearing this pohte speech, the gentleman 
she called George laughed, and Herr Droi- 
gel executed a faint "Ha, ha!" by way of 
second ; and though the description of my 
former self conveyed in the young lady's 
sentence was far from flattering, I could not 
help joinmg in the general merriment. 
" Come, you can laugh, that is a bless- 



OUTFLANKED. 203 



ing," remarked Miss Cleeves ; " and, as it is 
an accomplishment of recent date, I must 
inquire who taught it to you. Now, Annie, 
have you forgotten all your pretty manners, 
for which you used to win such praise in 
days gone by ? Do you intend to introduce 
me to this gentleman, or must I introduce 
myself? Who is he — your guardian, or 
your husband, or both T 

" Neither one nor the other," mterposed 
the Professor ; " but Droigel, by adoption 
Miss Annie's father, and your most humble 
servant." 

Miss Cleeves looked at him and at me 
sharply and curiously, then she said — 

" Pray, Ainiie, how long is it since you 
discovered an adopted father necessary to 
your comfort and well-being % You got on 
very well without either a real or sham 
parent, when I knew you. Or can it be," 
she suddenly added, " that this urbane 
gentleman is your step-grandpapa ? Has 
Mrs. Motfield " 



204 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" That s'ainted and most God-loved 
woman — " Herr Droigel was beginning ; but 
I could not endure the drift the conversa- 
tion was taking. 

" My grandmother is dead, Miss Cleeves," 
I said ; " please, do not say anything more 
about her." 

"Dead, Httle one! I am sorry," she ex- 
claimed, and she put her arm round my 
neck. " George, take that ridiculous con- 
veyance back to its owner, and leave me to 
find my own way to the Parade. I wish 
to discourse to this young lady about those 
' days of auld lang syne, when we pu'd the 
gowans fine.' That is a dear fellow. Aut, 
revoir.'^ 

And she kissed the tips of her fingers to 
her cavaher, who, turning a smiling and 
handsome face towards us, raised liis hat, 
and, obedient to the word of command, 
drove off. 

" And now, dear, tell me all about your- 
self," began Miss Cleeves. Then, ere I 



OUTFLANKED. 205 



could reply by a word, she rattled on : "I 
have never been able to hear a sentence 
of you. My worthy relatives were dumb 
on the subject. Your uncle, whom I went 
to see, was ' obliged by the affection I pro- 
fessed and the interest I displayed,' but 
considered that as the ' ladies' objected to 
our intimacy, it had better cease. From 
that moment I have been a wanderer over 
the earth. I quarrelled with my bread-and- 
butter ; I flung it, as the children do, butter- 
side downwards, to the end that it may be 
good for nothing when picked up. I left 
the Great House, where, if everything was 
very slow, it was also very sure. My mother 
inherited a small fortune, and I went home 
to help her spend it. Then — well, then — 
she died" — with a glance at her black 
dress ; " and I am now with the Dacres — 
that is George Dacre," and she nodded her 
head after the driver of the departing 
phaeton. " We are all here for the benefit 
of the sea air and of sea-bathing. Between 



206 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

ourselves, I sometimes think Mrs. Dacre 
proposed coming here in the hope that I 
would drown myself; she is so dreadfully- 
afraid of the son and heir marrying me — 
fancy that — marrying poor msigniiicant me !" 
"And Mr. Sylvester," I asked, "where 

is he r 

" Oh, Sylvester is going to be Lord Chan- 
cellor, or something of that sort," she 
answered, with an uneasy laugh. " Fact is, 
little one, there never was in any respec- 
table family such a kettle of fish boiled and 
served as that you prepared for our delec- 
tation when you left Lovedale. I denounced 
the conspiracy — I said thmgs to Miss Wif- 
forde, and Miss Wifforde said things to me, 
that were very much comme il fauiiit; and 
then — well, then — to cut a long story short, 
the origmal scheme had to be abandoned, 
and Mr. Syl left the Great House in order 
to make a name and some money for him- 
self He is still to inherit the place, I believe, 
if he behaves himself properly and turns 



OUTFLANKED. 207 



out a good boy, and mariies with the con- 
sent of his aunts. I always shall consider 
it a pity," went on Miss Cleeves, medita- 
tively, "that I could not like him well 
enough to have a wedding. I am sure I 
shall some day do a great deal worse." 

" Perhaps Miss does not know her own 
mind," suggested the Professor. 

She looked up at him \^dth a queer 
twinkle in her eyes, and answered — 

"Yes, grandpapa Droigel, I know my 
own mind on that subject, at any rate. And 
now, you dear adopted parent of orphans 
hke Annie and myself, tell me what you 
piu-pose making of this innocent. Has she 
still a voice, and does she intend uplifting 
it, or have you a son to whose Teutonic 
mind her dot does not seem simply con- 
temptible % Tell me, oh tell me, all about 
everything, ere I die !" and Miss Cleeves 
shpped her hand within his arm, and threw 
into her face an expression of the intensest 
interest. 



208 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" Miss Cleeves should go on the stage ; 
she would make one actress so superb," re- 
marked Herr Droigel. 

" You charming man ! repeat that obser- 
vation," exclaimed the young lady. " Go 
on the stage ! It is ' my dreaming by the 
night, my vision by the day — the very echo 
of my thoughts. My blessing'— et cetera. 
■Go on the stage ! I threaten my friends 
with that consummation ; would to heaven 
I could only carry out my threat ! Speak 
once more, dear friend — dear, if recent. 
j\re you the Herr Droigel who writes those 
songs that fill one with rapture — that are 
.a hundred, thousand, ten thousand times 
too spiritual and refined for the British 
public ? Ah, no, it cannot be that I see 
you, of whom I have thought so often, at 
last in the flesh." 

There are situations which prove irre- 
sistible ; and to me the sight of Miss Cleeves 
standing in front of Herr Droigel, her hands 
clasped, her words coming thick and fast, 



OUTFLANKED. 209 



and her eyes fastened on his ponderous 
person, as though it were the temple of some 
unknown god, was more than my gravity 
could withstand. Droigel himself accejDted 
the position in the most perfect good faith, 
with the serenest amiabihty. Head unco- 
vered, chest protruding, he stood there re- 
ceiving Miss Cleeves's homage with an ex- 
pression of such conscious worth, with a smile 
of such tolerant superiority, that at length, 
unable to control my merriment, I broke 
out into an almost hysterical fit of laughter. 

" There you go once more. Miss Annie," 
said the Professor. " Who has held up a 
finger now before the baby, and said to her, 
' Laugh, laugh at dat ?' " 

" I am very sorry " I was begmning, 

when Miss Cleeves cut across my sentence. 

" You are no such thing. You are, as 
you always were, a very ill-bred, ill-natured 
Httle monkey ! Herr Droigel, let us leave 
her to enjoy the fun all alone. Do talk to 
me ; tell me how you compose your songs. 

VOL. II. 14 



210 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

Do they come to you in the iiight ? do the 
waves whisper them to you T 

I heard no more. She was walkmg him 
up the hill as fast as her legs could carry 
her, and Droigel, who loved his ease, was 
toihng and trying vainly to edge m a word 
of remonstrance sideways. 

As for me, I sat down on the grass, the 
short velvety grass covering the common 
land through which the road had been cut, 
and laughed till I cried, and then laughed 
again. 

I had seen those songs written ; I had 
beheld the throes of composition ; I had 
heard all the samts m the calendar mvoked 
and all the fiends adjured, when the melody 
born would not realize his conception of it. 
Often as not mspiration came to him just 
as a saucepan boiled or a favourite mess 
was placed upon the table. 

" My child," he would then say, " one 
moment ;" and the great hand would alight 
on the keys softly as a cat, and the 



OUTFLANKED. 211 



mellow voice would hum a few bars, and 
thus a new au' would come mto the world, 
which was afterwards improved and elabo- 
rated till full grown and fit to be sent out 
into society. 

When I reached the house, Miss Cleeves 
had already got Herr Droigel down to the 
piano. 

" Hush-sh-sh !" she said, as I softly 
turned the handle and entered our sitting- 
room ; "hush-sh-sh!" as though I had 
been in the habit of making riot and con- 
fusion wherever I appeared. 

By the window stood Gretchen, puzzled ; 
leaning agamst the instrument was Miss 
Cleeves, looking at the Professor as though 
she worshipped him. 

When he had finished she drew a long 
breath. 

" Ah," she said, " if I could sing, if I 
only could !" and she turned away, tears 
standing, I verily believe, in her eyes. 
" Herr Droigel," she went on, " I always 

14— a 



212 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

feel religious when I listen to your music ; 
how is that, I wonder ?" 

The composer professed himself unable 
to tell. Neither Gretchen nor I, had we 
been asked, coidd have afforded any assis- 
tance in the way of explanation. 

" I want to hear you, Annie," she went 
on, after a pause. " I want to know if the 
voice has grown, or if it has got less, as I 
verily beheve you have. You need not 
put on that sanctified and penitential look," 
she continued, " because " 

The good reason which no doubt Miss. 
Cleeves intended to add was lost to us for 
ever, for at tliis juncture Herr Droigel rose 
and closed the piano with a careful silence, 
which spoke his intentions more eloquently 
than any bang could have done. 

" You pardon me," he said, " but the 
dear friend of auld lang syne must not smg 
to-night ; no — not for many nights. She 
is delicate, is this child, Annie ; and when 
the good doctor, that devoted Packman, 



OUTFLANKED. 213 



spoke to me of her, he said, ' It is a tender 
plant. If we wish it to blossom into perfect 
beauty, we must be careful to ' " 

" And since what period of its existence 
has the plant developed such exceeding 
•delicacy T inquired Miss Cleeves. " To 
my ignorance she looks remarkably well. 
Fact is, I suppose, you do not want her to 
«ing for me, and I must be content. There, 
am I not good and submissive and every- 
thing most proper and contemptible in 
woman T 

" You are charming," said the Professor, 
bowing low. " Your words are in my ears 
like the sound of a wild melody — strange, 
yet delightful. Gretchen, my angel, Miss 
Cleeves has promised to do this poor abode 
so great honour as to eat and drink under 
its roof Wilt thou take her to thy room, 
mine own, and procure for her what she 
may require ? I hear the steady march of 
'Ganymede carrying her tea-tray." 

" And I hear the rattle of knives and 



214 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

forks also, thaiik heaven !" added Miss 
Cleeves. " For your sake, Nannie, I have 
consented to forego the delights of dinner. 
Come with me, therefore, and make your- 
self amiable ;" and she held out her hand. 

I was crossing the room to join her, when 
Herr Droigel mterposed. 

" One moment, dear Miss. I have some- 
thing so much particular to say to my 
child." 

" Say it quickly, then," advised Miss 
Cleeves, " for I am gomg to wait till she is 
at liberty." 

And she sat coolly down on a chau' by 
the doorway ; and taking off her bonnet, 
began swuigmg it backwards and forwards 
by the strings until our conference should 
have ended. 

" Ah, ha ! young lady, you are so droll," 
exclaimed Herr Droigel with a ponderous 
affectation of levity ; " you wish to become 
acquainted with too much — you wish to 
know every one thing." 



OUTFLANKED. 215 

" I think I should soon know a great 
many thmgs, Herr Professor, if I Uved with 
you," said Miss Cleeves, calmly. " As I 
have not that inestimable advantage, I am 
waiting patiently till you have imparted 
valuable information to Annie. Now, you 
maker and singer of songs, what is it ?" 

" Every household has its httle secrets," 
said Herr Droigel. 

" Doubtless, and its big ones too ; but I 
am certain any secret you may have to 
communicate to Annie can wait till 'with 
sorrow you see me depart.' Come, Annie, 
Herr Droigel is only practising on your 
creduhty ; he has no secret, my child ;" 
and she swept me before her out of the 
room, and then turned and made a saucy 
little curtsey to the Professor. 

" Ach, Heaven !" I heard liim exclaim, 
" is she not adorable ? Such piquancy — 
vivacity so great — coquette — born actress — 
inconceivable self-possess ion ; but no voice 
— no voice ; and that dear Annie " 



216 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" Papa is composing a second book of 
Lamentations," remarked Gretchen, as she 
closed the door and ascended the stairs 
after us. 

Miss Cleeves turned and looked at her, 
but said never a word. 

No sooner, however, had we entered the 
apartment which we two girls shared, than 
turning to Miss Droigel, she began — 

" Gretchen- — I think yom- father called 
you Gretchen ; I believe he also called you 
fan angel ; but parents are apt to entertain 
delusions concerning the attributes of their 
offspring — Gretchen, my angel, Annie 
Trenet and I have known each other since 
the days when, figuratively speaking, we 
sucked barley-sugar and made ourselves 
sick with gingerbread. Naturally there 
are many touching incidents we desire to 
recall, but we feel they are too sacred 
to be spoken of pubhcly. Therefore, 
Gretchen " 

"My dear Miss Cleeves," interrupted 



OUTFLANKED. 217 

Gretchen, seating herself on the side of the 
bed as coolly as the visitor had taken up 
her position below, " Annie is to us a very- 
precious lamb, and we cannot run the 
shghtest risk of having her morals contami- 
nated. You see what a transparent in- 
nocent family we are ; we want to keep 
Annie as one of ourselves " 

" You will have to get her up to your 
own high standard of innocence first, girl 
with hair so golden and eyes so blue," 
said Miss Cleeves, cutting across her un- 
finished sentence ; "I understand the little 
scheme now, and in consideration of your 
father's inconceivable abihties will bow to 
his decision. I comprehend that this ' dear 
Annie,' to quote Herr Droigel, has de- 
veloped the genius I first discovered ; and 
he fears that if her friends knew her real 
worth they might try to steal the 
diamond." 

" Hardly, I think," said Gretchen, pillow- 
ing her ease-loving head upon soft round 



218 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

arms. " They would not know what to do 
with the diamond when they got it." 

"Wise child of a wise parent," remarked 
Miss Cleeves, brushing her luxuriant hair 
with a quick impatient movement as she 
spoke. " Your words are words that I 
shall ponder upon. What an understand- 
ing there must be amongst this amiable 
family ! Not a word spoken, and yet the 
youthful maiden knows her role as if by 
intuition. " 

"It is of no use trying to insult me," 
answered Gretchen lazily, yet defiantly, " I 
am but obeying orders. Annie's voice is 
precious to us ; we want to make the most 
of it. So far the Droigels have been out 
of pocket over your, friend. In the future, 
the Droigels hope to enrich themselves 
through her. That is the solution of the 
enigTna." 

"You are frank, my friend," said Miss 
Cleeves. 

" I am not false," retorted Gretchen, 



OUTFLANKED. 21& 



angrily, answering not the w^ords of the 
sentence, but the sneer it contained. 

" You are fan-," remarked Miss Cleeves, 
taking no notice whatever of Miss Droigel's 
indignation, "and I admire beauty. Far- 
ther, I confess that by your subhme cool- 
ness you have vanquished even me. It 
would not have hurt either your father or 
you to let me chat for five minutes alone 
with a girl I knew when she was so liigh ; 
but as you think otherwise, I submit. 
Your uncle has sold you to the Egyptians, I 
see, Annie, and your friends must wait till 
you have achieved great renown before they 
behold your emancipation. — Let me know 
when the prodigy is to make her debut. 
Miss Gretchen, and I wiU sell lots of tickets 
for you, and do that which is usually quite 
contrary to my principles — reward evil 
with good." 

" You are very kind," observed Gretchen. 

" I am not generally considered an 
amiable individual," repHed Miss Cleeves. 



220 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

"" And now, Annie, yon who were always a 
shuttlecock between contending battledores, 
and who will always be a shuttlecock till 
you develop a spirit and will and temper of 
your own, shall we go down to tea ? — 
Heaven, what hair you have !" she went on, 
touching Gretchen's plaits almost caress- 
ingly. " I know it is rude to make 
personal remarks, but I never did see any- 
thing so beautiful." 

To which compliment Gretchen made no 
reply, but stalked after us with uplifted 
chin and heightened colour, and a look in 
her eyes that said, It is of no use your 
trying to flatter and twist me round your 
finger. I am not a phable idiot like our 
friend Annie. 

As she had done ample justice to our 
fare at Lovedale, so Miss Cleeves delighted 
Herr Droigel's heart by the rehsh with 
which she partook of the various dainties 
displayed on the tea-table. Much must 
have been new and strange even to her, 



OUTFLANKED. 221 



but, undaunted, she ate her way to my 
master's good opinion, 

" Ah !" he said, aiwopos to some ob- 
servation made with Miss Cleeves's cus- 
tomary frankness on my appetite, " if Miss. 
Annie would only take food, what a future 
might she not spread out before herself!" 

" She was always a dainty little wretch," 
remarked Miss Cleeves, helping herself to a 
huge shce of German sausage. 

" Don't you attend to the speaking of 
this dear friend," said Herr Droigel to me, 
evidently thinkmg Miss Cleeves's style of 
conversation calculated to wound my sensi- 
bilities ; " she talks by contrary — she calls 
you ' wretch' for ' love.' " 

" I beg you will not attempt to translate 
my language," answered Miss Cleeves ; 
"Annie knows very well what I mean. 
Before she is fit to go out into the world 
and hold her own against the peoj)le that 
inhabit it, she will have to get rid of her 
absurd sensibility, of her extra refinement 



222 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

of sentiment, of her fastidious notions of 
gratitude and affection, and other rubbish of 
that sort. At this present moment she is 
just about as fit to steer her own course, 
and take care of her own interests, as I 
should be to command a man-of-war. If 
she had ten thousand a year it might be all 
very well, though even in that case some- 
body would make a fool of her ; but for 
a girl who has to push her own way, who 
has, in a word, to earn her living, such 
trustfulness and want of self-assertion is 
simply ridiculous." And having thus de- 
livered herself. Miss Cleeves asked for 
another cup of tea, whilst Herr Droigel 
stated his opinion that "gratitude and 
affection were traits most beautiful in the 
character of a youthful maiden." 

" Beautiful, but useless ; — worse than 
useless, pernicious," persisted Miss Cleeves ; 
and then she began to laugh, and said, 
" Dear Herr Droigel, is it not fortunate for 
you that it is Annie with those traits in 



OUTFLANKED. 223 



her character most beautiful, who has the 
divine voice, instead of a worldly-wise 
young lady like myself ?" 

" Who says Miss Aimie has a divine 
voice ?" asked the Professor, with an 
anxiety he tried vainly to conceal. 

" I say so," rephed Miss Cleeves. " What 
is the use of making a mystery about the 
matter ? We all know the giii can smg ; 
that she could sing from the time she could 
speak. You are as well aware of that as I 
am." 

" Pardon me. Miss Amiie is very dear 
to me ; but of her voice I say nothing ex- 
cept this, that voices do not always grow. 
That which is wonderful in a child is weak 
in a woman. As she sang when I first 
heard her, our Annie smgs not now." 

" Then you must have made some terrible 
mess over your teaching, " said Miss Cleeves, 
bluntly. For a wonder she did not perceive 
the equivoque of Herr Droigel's sentence ; 
but I did, and exclaimed — 



224 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" No pupil ever pleased a master, Miss 
Cleeves. Put me on that stone in the 
middle of the Love with you for audience, 
and I will sing better than ever I did." 

" A miracle," cried Miss Cleeves ; " the 
dumb speaks !" Then glancing slyly at 
Herr Droigel, she added, "It is a remark- 
able fact that the dumb always speak at 
the wrong time." 

" Annie could never speak at a wrong 
time for me," said the Professor ; " that 
dear child has only two faults — she eat 
too Httle, she talk too little." 

" I am not sure that talking too little is 
a fault," disagreed Miss Cleeves. "Suj^- 
posing every one talked as much as you 
and I — why the world would be a perfect 
Babel." 

" I, dear Miss !" expostulated the Pro- 
fessor ; " I — why, I am the most silent 
amongst men. If I had but your gift, I 
might then open my mouth. Then I could 
talk worth hearmg !" 



OUTFLANKED. 225 

" Madame Droigel will be jealous if you 
compliment me," said Miss Cleeves, calmly. 
'" She is aware that when I came here, I 
was in love with the composer ; when I 
leave, I shall have to make the sad con- 
fession that I am in love with the man." 

Madame Droigel laughed. " I am so 
TQOOch used to dat," she remarked ; " the 
ladies are most in lofe with him. He is so 
goot to all." 

" Thou flatterest, dearest one," said Herr 
Droigel, while Miss Cleeves turned upon 
me a look which was unhappily intercepted 
by Gretchen. 

" I at least do not flatter," said Miss 
■Cleeves. " Seriously I do not know a 
modern composer whose songs stir my heart 
like those of Herr Droigel ; and farther, I 
always feel a respect for any one possessed 
of sense enough and will enough to out- 
match me. You and yoiu- charming daughter 
have beaten me to-day. I did want half 
an hour's quiet talk with Annie ; but you 

VOL. II. 15 



226 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

and she said ' No,' and I am forced to bow 
to your decision." 

"What an intelligence!" exclaimed the 
Professor, lifting his hand as though asking 
Heaven to join in his admiration of our 
visitor. " Of what avail are the clumsy 
devices of a novice like myself when pitted 
against an mtuition so rare, a sense so 
subtle % Dear Miss, of what use beating 
about the bush with you ? I will show you 
my soul. I will speak to you about this 
dear child Amiie as if she was not present. 
Lovely is the affection of woman, touchmg 
are the httle confidences of the sex ; but 
they are too stimulatmg for constitutions. 
like that of my Amiie. Her mental diges- 
tion, so to speak, is weak. Sentiment over- 
weights her. The tender memories of that 
childhood, so calm, so beautiful, are better 
to lie slumbermg. She is excitable, this 
little one. If she is to do any good for 
herself, or for her devoted Droigel, she 
must keep tranquil" 



OUTFLANKED. 227 

" So far as I am concerned, I have no 
objection to her keeping tranquil," said 
Miss Cleeves. " The only stipulation I 
make is, that when she sings in public for 
the first time you give me due notice, that 
I may be there to hear." 

" It is a compact," said Droigel. 

" Let us shake hands on it then," sug- 
gested Miss Cleeves. 

And the pair went gravely through this 
ceremony, after which Miss Cleeves re- 
marked that it was time for her to be 
returning to the domestic hearth. 

" I myself will have the great honour and 
pleasure of accompanying you," said Herr 
Droigel ; and fortified by this assurance of 
safe escort. Miss Cleeves went upstau-s 
to put on her bonnet. 

I did not ofier to go with her. If Gretchen 
was to remain as a spy upon me, Gretchen 
might do the honours of her father's house. 
Sulkiness was not a conspicuous trait m 
my character, but that evening I confess I 

15—2 



228 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

felt sullen and aggrieved. For years I had 
worn fetters unconsciously ; the moment I 
recognised their existence, I rebelled at my 
bondage. 

Evidently Miss Cleeves guessed at what 
was passing in my mind, for as she kissed 
me at parting, she whispered, " I will see 
you alone in spite of them." 

Equally certain was it that Herr Droigel 
knew I was out of temper, for he patted 
my head and called me his dear child, 
and bade me take care of myself till he 
returned. 

As for Gretchen, scarcely was Miss 
Cleeves well outside the doors before she 
opened her battery. 

" Are all your friends like that T she 
inquired. 

" I do not know. Whyl" I said, vaguely. 

" Because, if they are, I camiot congratu- 
late you on your acquaintance. Of all the 
ill-bred, insolent, rude, disagreeable people 
I ever met, that Miss Cleeves is the most 



O UTFLA NKED. 229 



unendurable. If she be a specimen of 
the upper ten thousand, dehver me from 
them !" 

" I do not know anythmg of the upper 
ten thousand," was my answer ; " but I 
suppose there are some of all sorts amongst 
them, as in our own rank." 

" What business has she interfering with 
you ?" continued Gretchen. " Wliat does 
she mean by sneering at my father?" 

" I do not thuik she sneered at your 
father. If there be anything in the world 
Miss Cleeves admires, it is genius ; if there 
be anything she likes, it is a character out 
of the common ; and Herr Droigel has 
genius, and he is not m the least like any- 
body else that I ever knew." 

" Did she suppose I was such an idiot 
as to be deluded by her compliments % 
What can it signify to her whether I am 
pretty or ugly % I daresay she thinks her- 
self far better-lookiner than I am. " 

o 

"I do not know. If she entertained 



230 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

such an opinion, I imagine she would have 
expressed it," 

" Because you know she is pretty," 
went on Gretchen, anxious for contra- 
diction. 

" I think her beautiful," was my reply. 

" I do not know about that," said the 
German Venus, disappointed ; " she cer- 
tainly has a quantity of nice dark hair, and 
good eyes, and " 

" Do not let us dissect her, Gretchen," I 
said, gently. " You do not know exactly 
what she is to me — all I have felt about 
her since the first morning we met. Oh, if 
you could only see the place where she 
lived then !" 

" Was it very grand V 

"Yes, magnificent," I answered, in per- 
fect good faith. Everything is comparative, 
and the Great House still seemed mag- 
nificent to me. 

" Is Miss Cleeves very rich T 

" No, I think not ; I do not know. She 



OUTFLANKED. 231 



might have been, if she would have married 
as Miss Wifforde wished." 

" Why didn't she marry, then ?" 

"Really, Gretchen, it is impossible for 
me to say." 

" Did you "^ever see the ' him 1' Was he 
old, was he ugly, was he ill-natured ?" 

" No, he was young and good-looking, 
and a vast deal better tempered than she." 

" Then why on earth didn't she marry 
liim ?" 

" I have not an idea. And now, if there 
is no other question you particularly want 
answered, I wish you would leave me 
alone. " 

•Having uttered this pohte speech, I 
walked mto the drawmg-room and locked 
the door after me, 

" Sociable one," screamed Gretchen to 
me through the keyhole a few minutes 
after, " mamma and I are going for a walk 
in the moonlight — will you come T 

" No," I said shortly. 



232 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" Well, you might be. civil, at any rate." 
" Do go for your walk, and never mind 

•n 

me. 

" I hope you will be in a more amiable 
temj)er when we come back." 

" I made no reply — I opened the piano 
and began playing. 

" You are gomg to exorcise the demon, 
is it not so ?" persisted Gretchen. But I 
dro^vned her farther utterances with a 
crash of chords, and finally she departed. 
Then once again I had the house to myself, 
then once again I could sing. 

Not, however, as had been the case in 
the earher part of the day. As I played, 
my uTitation vanished. The demon, as 
Gretchen surmised, was cast out by the 
music, and tender thoughts and gentle 
memories came swelling up in my heart, as 
I recalled Lovedale and the happy days I 
had sjDcnt there — the happy, happy days 
of old. 

Forefotten melodies recurred to me : bal- 



OUTFLANKED. 235 

lads that had lulled me to sleep ; songs 
that I had heard crooned m the hay and 
the harvest-fields crowded back to my me- 
mory — unconsciously, almost, airs wild and 
plaintive took shape and form once more. 
With the bright moonlight flooding the 
room, I sang, in my girlhood, the songs of 
my earliest youth. 

At this moment, moonhght " deep and 
tender " is lying calm, soft, and silvery over 
lawn and garden, painting with unreal co- 
lours tree, and shrub, and flower ; and as 
I write, that night, which held folded 
vdthin itself the memory of so much of the 
past — the presentiment of so much of the. 
futui'e — returns in fancy once agam, and 
is very present with me. 

Long after Gretchen and her mother had 
come in from their walk, Herr Droigel re- 
appeared, joyous, not to say merry. 

" Where is my Annie," he said, " that I 
may talk to her of those friends so dear, so 
charming ?" 



234 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

Yes ; he had gone into the house of this 
Colonel Dacre. That adorable Miss would 
take no refusal. She had dragged him into 
a mansion grand as a palace, into the bosom 
of a family distinguished as royalty. The 
mamma Dacre was a marvel of matronly 
beauty ; the papa looked himself a soldier ; 
and there were two young lady Dacres — 
and a friend so sweet, so lovely — all so 
sweet, all so lovely — and three sons. 

The sons, and the daughters, and the 
friend had only one fault : they imagined 
they could sing. 

" Gott in Himmel !" and the Professor 
clenched his hands, and ground his teeth, 
and stamped on the carpet. 

" And then," he went on, after a pause 
devoted to bitter memories of false notes 
and poor voices, "time anyhow, anyhow, but 
always wrong. And then they would have 
me to sing; and that dear impassioned 
Miss almost embraced me — me, Droigel. 
She is unprecedented ; she is incomparable ; 



OUTFLANKED. 235 

she speaks French, German, Spanish, Italian, 
— each one Hke a native himself. Such 
talent, such originaHty ! And she is writ- 
ing a book, she tells me. And then the 
good Colonel would insist on my drinking 
some of the wine of my own Rhineland. 
Ah I that ivas wine which Miss brought to 
me with her own hands, saying in her 
pretty airy way, she had much regret there 
were no leaves with which to crown me ; 
and they have invited us all to a picnic 
party, and I — foolish Droigel that I am — 
have promised that we will take ourselves 
there. How say you, Annie ? Will it not 
be pleasant for you to see the dear friend 
in all the unrestraint of holiday-making on 
the sea T 

What answer I made to this is imma- 
terial now, for we never went to that pic- 
nic ; we never tried the effect of hoHday- 
making on the sea. 

Next morning but one, Herr Droigel 
received, or said he received, a letter from 



236 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

some wonderful musical friend, which ne- 
cessitated his leaving for London and 
carrying me with him. 

We only remained there long enough to 
enable his friend to hear me suigf one 
" httle song :" after which we parted in all 
haste, and started, he and I alone together, 
for the Continent. 

Never a pleasanter companion need youth 
have desked than Herr Droigel proved 
himself ; and yet I failed to enjoy my trip 
as much as would have been the case had I 
not entertained a strong suspicion that the 
journey was undertaken with no other 
object than to separate me from friends old 
or new. 

One phrase used by Miss Cleeves per- 
petually recurred to me. Yes, I felt I was 
a shuttlecock, and that Herr Droigel was 
playing at battledore with me all by 
himself 



CHAPTER X. 

A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 




RELIEVING as he did in liis "heart 
of hearts" that there was but one 
country worth speaking about, and 
only one people possessing brains, character, 
and romance — the Germans — it was natural 
that Herr Droigel should extol that " dear 
Albion," and even profess that, spite of its 
fogs, its prejudices, its shams, and its 
luxurious style of living, he preferred it 
even to the beloved Fatherland. 

"After all, Annie," he said, as we 
approached London, "the song is right, 
there is no place like home, be it ever so 
lowly." 

" But surely," I said, " you do not con- 
sider England home ?" 



238 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" And why not, I pray you, little wise- 
head ?" he iaquired. 

" Because it is not your home ; because 
you are a German ; because England can 
only seem to you like an inn, where you 
would never thmk of remaining for the 
whole of your life." 

''Who is it that says he always found 
his warmest welcome at an ian ? There, 
never mind racking your young brams over 
the matter. He was a wise man, and, I 
doubt not, a good, or he never would have 
arrived at a conclusion so full of profound 
sense and delicate feehng. To return to 
your question, let me answer it by another, 
Where is your home ?" 

" Oh, Herr Droigel," I answered, " I 
never had but one home. I never can have 
another." 

"Your castle on the Love?" he sug- 
gested. 

" Do not laugh at me," I said ; "do not 
turn that home into ridicule. It was but 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 239 

an atom of a place, it was absurdly small ; 
beside the Great House it looked a mere 
speck ; and yet I loved that home as I can 
never love another so long as I hve." 

Herr Droigel lifted his hat ; he put on a 
solemn expression as if he were entering a 
church ; he looked at me with tender pity, 
and then he began addressing vacancy, as 
though I had been a subject, and he lectur- 
ing upon me. 

" What a cliild of nature is tliis dear 
Annie ! Her instincts, are they not those 
of the faithful animals, who, being dumb 
and vdthout reason, rise superior to self- 
interest and to deceit ? Behold a house 
desolate, its master dead, its mistress far 
distant, its children scattered, its servants 
disbanded ; silent are its rooms, grass- 
grovra. its gardens, across deserted apart- 
ments the moon throws her ghost-like rays. 
And by the lonely hearth, where no fire 
now is hghted, where dust and ashes alone 
remain to tell of the fii-es that once have 



240 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

been, what do we behold ? A cat, with 
rough coat and staring eyes, the only 
creature that remains faithful to the 
memory of the past. Or see, once more, 
a grave in which man has been laid by 
man to rest till the judgment-day, or till 
some fresh tenant has need of the slender 
plot. Man has left man ; he has gone back 
to his pleasure, his business, his care, 
his money-making, his money-spending ; 
and the friend of old, the boon com- 
panion, the true comrade, the worthy 
citizen, the husband and son and father, 
exemplary in each relation of life, out 
of sight is fast growing also out of 
mind, and lies under his clay mound, with 
rank grass growing to right and left, at 
head and foot, alone. And yet not alone : 
stretched full length on the mound is the 
one friend whom death has failed to ahenate 
— his dog." 

Here Herr Droigel puffed forth a sigh, 
and remained silent for a moment — whether 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 241 

engrossed in the contemplation of cat or 
dog his own consciousness had evolved, it 
is impossible for me to say. When he 
took up his parable agam, it was but to 
apply its moral. 

" And as the cat and the dog in their 
attachment to place and person, so is this 
Annie of ours. She beholds fresh places — 
she visits fine cities, she sees countries 
beautiful as dreams of fairyland — and still 
the true heart remains faithful to its first 
beloved — the cottage by the Love. Old 
friends pass away ; the grandmother, so 
good, so tender, has long received her 
message, and repaired herself to the man- 
sions of the blessed ; and other friends 
have arisen to help Annie along the path 
of life ; but Annie, devoted like the dog, 
clings in memory to that grave across which 
the sunbeams glance through the branches 
of that memorable yew. It is lovely, 
and yet pitiful. Why were we created 
reasoning beings, if we permit instinct 

VOL. II. 16 



242 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

to rule our feelings and influence oiu- ac- 
tions ?" 

Herr Droigel's philosophy had become 
wearisome to me in the course of time — as 
wearisome as his sentiment ; and for this 
reason, casting aside the question whether, 
in my divine instincts, I resembled his 
ideal cat and dog, I returned to the point 
whence we had started. 

" You cannot," I persisted, " hke England 
so well as your own country." 

" Mine own cliild," said the Professor, 
" when the frosty weather nips you up — 
soil !" — and he convulsed his mighty frame 
with a stage shudder — "which do you 
love best, a full grate or an empty ? When 
you are hungry — but hunger, I suppose, is 
a sensation unknown to Annie, who nibbles, 
nibbles, unlike Droigel, who eats plates 
upheaped — but put it that you felt hun- 
ger, should you not prefer a larder well 
garnished, to one empty and swept clean ? 
The royal sirloin, the substantial side of 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 243 

bacon, the appetizing sausage, and the use- 
ful loaf would recommend their presence. 
Good ; so far you follow me. This England 
of yours, cursed in its chmate and — weU, 
in nothiag else, we wUl say — blessed lq its 
soil and its wealth and its position, its blaz- 
ing coals, is bread and meat, board, lodging, 
and washmg to me. I find not here 
ethereal blessings — I find no appreciative 
public, no wreaths, no garlands, no medals ; 
but in heu thereof the cakes and ale which 
in my own land of poesy and romance might 
well be forgotten. 

" Setting aside the fact of its being 
poisonous, a man cannot live on laurel. 
He needs the fat beeves, he delights in the 
fine wheaten bread with which London can 
supply him. It is true, and pity it is, that 
as regards Art the Enghsh are outer 
barbarians ; but what matter ? They know 
how to live, they know how to let five. 
There, Annie, much beloved, is the case in 
a nutsheU, as your adage has it. A time 

16—2 



244 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

there was — why should I, who wear my 
heart on my sleeve, seek to conceal any- 
thing ? — a time there was when I, like you, 
had my aspirations. Just as you have often 
said in your innocent soul, ' When I have 
gamed fame, when I have made money, I 
will steal back to the home that mine heart 
sickens for,' so, in similar manner, Annie, I 
have spoken to myself in my foolishness, 
and said — 

" ' I will endure these fogs so fearful ; I 
will humour the Goths, and write down to 
please the false taste and tickle the dis- 
eased palates of the Visigoths ; I will haste 
me to be rich, and then retm'n to mine own 
romantic land, and under the shadow of my 
vme and my fig-tree spend the remainder 
of my days, ' 

" But money is about the only evil not to 
be acquired with rapidity; and here am I fast 
hurrying down the hill of Hfe, poor as when 
I first began to climb it. Yes, it has been 
a lost existence," finished Herr Droigel, 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 245 

and his voice sank almost into a whisper. 
For a moment, perhaps, he deluded his 
fancy with the idea that circumstances and 
not himself were to blame for the result of 
his endeavours — that, given the chance 
over again, the end would not have proved 
such an utter failure as I must confess it 
seemed to me. 

" I was always a simpleton," he recom- 
menced, after a pause ; " the artist cannot 
help being one, out of his art. The one side 
of the artist's temperament is genius, the 
other folly. Looking back — thinking about 
what I am and what I might have been — 
I say, ' Droigel, you were a fool, you are a 
fool, you always will be a fool.' Then I 
curse my folly, and at the first opportunity 
am foohsh agam. Speak ! is it not so, 
Annie?" 

Whatever my private impression of Herr 
Droigel 's character might be — and I am not 
aware that I had then formed any impres- 
sion at all on the subject — ^^I certainly was 



246 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

old enough and wise enough not to commit 
the impoHcy of agreeing with his expressed 
opinions concerning his own imperfections ; 
therefore, finding he waited for a re|)ly, I 
said I thought he was so far from being a 
simpleton, that he could do anything he 
chose if he only liked to set about it. 

"Ah! the sweet flattery of youth!" he 
exclaimed ; " the only flattery wliich is 
honest and true ! How dear is it to those 
who are young no longer ! To a certam ex- 
tent, however, you have reason, Annie. If 
I were other than I am ; if, instead of being 
a child of nature, I were cold, calculatmg, 
worldly-wise ; in a word, if Droigel were 
not Droigel, but another ; then even now 
he might make a success. He might have his 
house large, well-appomted ; his brougham 
snug and swift ; his small boy covered with 
buttons tiny and bright ; his coachman 
clad in a modest livery of drab and silver. 
But acli neinT he suddenly exclaimed; 
" away, dreams ! away, you mockmg visions. 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 247 

By the light of reason I see Droigel walk- 
ing still through the mire of the filthy 
London streets, or else squeezed up in a 
close omnibus, anathematized by his eleven 
fellow-sufferers ; no carriage, no high-step- 
ping horses, no footmen, no nothing for 
Droigel till the end." 

He was so pathetic in his self-pity that 
I could not possibly avoid trying to com- 
fort him with the hope of brighter days in 
store; but my eloquence did not produce 
the effect it might, had imagination not 
conjured up a vision of Droigel settled 
down in a well-appointed house filled with 
decorous servants. 

Would he clothe himself like other 
people ? would he, could he relinquish his 
culinary occupations ? What would a maid 
like Miss Hunter, for example, think of 
Madame's style of dress ? and would not the 
necessary disorder of any abode which con- 
tained the Droigels fill with dismay the soul 
of any servant who ever took duster in hand? 



248 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" No, no, Annie," exclaimed my com- 
panion, "it is useless. I know what I 
know. The leopard cannot change his 
spots, and Droigel will be poor Droigel to 
the last page of the volume. The child of 
any other man than I would have been full 
of music, and Gretchen knows not one note 
from another. She cannot tell what is 
wrong or what is right. It is no sin to 
her. Music is a sense, and she has it not ; 
but consider the difference to me. There 
was a httle baby brother once. Was he 
crying and I struck a few chords, the tears 
ceased to flow. " (Herr Droigel had evidently 
not studied the habits of babies so closely 
as the science of thorough bass, hence this 
figure of speech.) "At three years of age 
he could sing, in his dear little way, ballads 
to perfection. He was a prodigy, a wonder ; 
but the angels took him. We have all our 
graves," added Herr Droigel with a re- 
proachful glance at me, as though I had 
tried to monopolize the whole of them. 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 2i9 

** Yes," he repeated, sinking his voice almost 
to a whisper, and communing apparently 
with his own absorbing sorrow, " we have 
all our graves." 

A remark of this sort usually proves a 
dead-stop to conversation, and so it would 
in this case had ours been a conversation. 
But it was in truth almost a monologue, or 
rather, perhaps, a sermon preached to one 
auditor, a lecture delivered to a single hs- 
tener. Having a good hstener, Herr Droigel, 
after a moment devoted to sentiment, pro- 
ceeded — 

" Yes, it has been a lost life ; and no one 
to thank for it but mine own idiotic self 
Knowing what was best, I did what was 
worst. I never looked ahead; I thought 
wise thoughts and acted unwise deeds, like 
other men. There was my marriage, for 
instance. I ought never to have married, 
or at least not then. You need not look so 
frightened. Miss Annie ; I adore Madame 
Droigel, as you know." 



250 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" Yes," I answered, relieved, " I know 
you do," Many a time had I marvelled to 
myself how Herr Droigel could marry such 
a woman as Madame, and it did surprise 
and almost frighten me to hear him touch 
the string I had so often tried to sound 
when alone. 

My knowledge of mankind was at that 
period extremely slight, and I happened 
to be utterly ignorant of the astonishing 
fact that many men consider it a deHcate 
way of ingratiating themselves with the 
other sex, to state or imply that they have 
matrimonially made the wi'ong ^election ; 
but even had I then been aware of this sin- 
gular masculine propensity, I could not 
have felt more alarmed at the idea of Herr 
Droigel suddenly gomg mad and makmg 
love to me, than I did at the notion of his 
selectuig me for a confidant. 

The only married man with whom I had 
any previous acquaintance was my uncle 
Isaac ; and though his choice seemed to me 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 251 

as mistaken a one as imagination could con- 
ceive, still I knew no human being would 
ever hear from his lips confirmation of the 
theory. 

For these reasons had Herr Droigel struck 
me a blow, I do not think I could have 
felt more utterly stunned than I was by his 
remark. 

Calmly, however, he proceeded to reas- 
sure me. According to him'Madame Droigel 
was the personification to his mind of fe- 
male excellence. 

" To you who know her," he said, " why 
need I dwell on her perfections '? She is, 
you must confess it, unique ; is it not so, 
Annie?" 

Happy was I that he had found a point 
on which I could agree with him so 
thoroughly. Yes, Madame was unique. 

With tears in his eyes Herr Droigel 
thanked me for my divine appreciation. 

" I knew you, so good, so amiable, must 
recognise those quahties in another. Thmk,^ 



252 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

Annie, since you became our second 
daughter, have you ever seen her temper 
once ruffled T 

" No, I never have." I was still v^ith 
him. 

" And then what adorable forgetfulness 
of self ! Other women might say, ' I must 
have this, I must have that ;' but my dear 
wife has no thought save for her most un- 
worthy husband. Is it not inexpHcable 
and touching V 

To which I replied that I supposed any 
one who knew him would be only too happy 
to study his wishes ; but that still it was 
very nice of Madame to be so entirely de- 
voted to his interests. Whereupon he 
smiled pleasantly, and said I was a httle 
Jesuit. 

"And still, through all your pretty 
speeches, underneath your simple innocent 
manner, I see you are djdng to know why 
I say it was a mistake for me to marry any 
one, more especially a woman so far, far too 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 2h'S 

good for me as that angel who bears with 
me as her husband. I will tell you. The^ 
artist should never marry. His art should 
be to him father, mother, brother, sister, 
wife, child, friend. When he is created 
into this world he is to all intents married 
already. If he takes to himself a second 
wife, he commits bigamy ; for, look you, 
the art never dies until the man does. He 
may think he has seen its last breath, that 
for him its last sigh has been uttered ; but 
it will come to Hfe again. In an hour when, 
the man or the woman least look for its 
appearance it will come to claim its own 
again. 

" A man camiot serve two masters," went 
on Herr Droigel after a pause, during the 
continuance of which I never attempted to 
speak. " ' He cannot love God and Mam- 
mon.' " (Under which category he intended 
to include Madame I have not the faintest 
idea.) " To one or the other he must be 
unfaithful. The wife goes to the wall^ 



254 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

which is a wickedness that ought not to be 
allowed to happen, or the beloved art is 
neglected, debased into a mere device for 
money-making. No ; the artist should be 
free to devote himself, body, soul, spirit, to 
his mistress — so beautiful, so exacting ; so 
generous if served faithfully ; so revengeful 
if another be placed upon her pedestal. 
From his cradle he who is born with genius 
should be taught that the dehghts of 
earthly love are not for him. He should 
have no children crying out for bread, while 
he is treading the j)athway to Fame. In 
my poor way," he went on, " what has my 
experience been ? I have been forced to 
choose between my art and my family. 
Could I see the dear ones want merely 
because there was a future before me % 
Could I go on composing for a select pos- 
terity, whilst the men and women my con- 
temporaries offered me gold to write some 
little nothing which should please their 
barbarous taste ? Put yom'self in my 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 255 

place, Amiie ; try to fancy your little feet 
slipped into my great shoes, and then say, 
married, was it possible for me to cast aside 
all regard for my dear wife, for my beloved 
children, and compass success at the result 
of their tears, their privations ?" 

To me there occurred only one possible 
answer to this inquiry : clearly, Herr 
Droigel, havhig elected to take Madame for 
better for worse, was bound to support her 
and his children ; and I said so. 

Still there was no divergence in our 
opinions ; still I was able to agree with the 
views he advanced, only I could not imagine 
why he favoured me by advancing them at 
all, and at such length. 

"What, then, Annie," he asked, "do 
you take to be the moral of all this ?" 

" I suppose," I answered, " the moral is 
what you have already stated. You ought 
to have devoted yourself to art instead of 
to Madame Droigel." 

" True, so far ; but there is a wider moral 



25t) HOME, SWEET HOME. 

which has been also expressed by me, and 
there is a particular moral which applies to 
you : no artist should marry. You should 
not marry." 

" I have not the least thought of domg- 
so," I answered, marvelling what on earth 
should have put such an idea into his head, 
for I knew no one who could possibly marry 
me. Dr. Packman was the only single 
man of my acquaintance, and he might 
also have been my grandfather. 

" Of course not. Now you have not ; 
at the moment, no ; but the moment will 
come, and the lover with it. Then re- 
member my words. Marriage is not for 
you. An artiste you were born, an artiste 
you have chosen to remain. You cannot 
be wife and artiste too. I have seen genius 
stifled, hajDpiness destroyed, two made most 
miserable because people would not believe 
art and home to be mcompatible one with 
the other. Do you believe, Annie, that 
the opinion I have expressed is true ? 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 257 

Say, my child. Answer without re- 
serve." 

" I have no doubt you are quite right in 
your opinion," I replied, sorrowfully. After 
all, though a girl's thoughts may not be 
running on marriage and lovers, there is 
somethmg mournful in hearing that never, 
whether as girl or woman, is home to be- 
come a reality for her. Yet my small 
knowledge of life confirmed the truth of 
Herr Droigel's words. 

At every turn had not music produced 
an element of discord between me and 
those I was most anxious to please ? Had 
I not been forced to smother my own incli- 
nations in order to avoid grieving the only 
parent I ever knew 1 Had not music driven 
us from Lovedale — rendered return to Fair- 
port impossible ? 

Yes, he was right. He sat watching me 
while I came slowly and carefully to the 
conclusion in my mind that I had akeady 
uttered with my lips, 

VOL. 11. 17 



258 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" Never give up your art for the sake of 
a husband," he went on, after a short silence. 
" Believe me, no man is worth the sacrifice. 
Oh, I have seen so much of it ! I have 
known so many hearts broken, beheld such 
bitter tears shed ; could tell of shipwreck 
so utter, so soul-rending, that if my Gret- 
chen had genius, as she has beauty, I would 
rather see her in her shroud than in her 
bridal robes." 

" You do not take a very cheerful view 
of a singer's life," I said, trying to speak 
lightly. " Surely there must be some ex- 
ceptions to so sad a rule." 

" You mean — I gather from your face 
rather than your words — that though so 
many are mismatched, yet some there must 
have been happily mated. I think not, 
unless the art was abandoned ; for if two 
possessed of genius marry, they are never 
satisfied. The idea that there is a fellow 
somewhere on the face of the earth for every 
human soul is pretty, if you like, but it is 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 259 

not true — at least, I think it is mere babble ; 
at all events, when the two souls meet they 
are likely as not married already, having 
grown impatient of long delay ; and that is 
bad — that is very bad ; married souls ought 
not to meet. Besides, it is often only fancy. 
They are not the right souls at all ; but 
they persist sometimes in thinking they 
are, and then a scandal arises, and after- 
wards they find out that the complementary 
souls — shall we call them ? — must still be 
wandering about some place trying to get 
paired. Bah ! Upon the whole, I do not 
think it a pretty fancy. It is uncomfor- 
table, unsettled, a house on the sand. 
What is your notion about it ?" 

" I have no notion," I answered ; " but I 
should not like my soul to consider it 
necessary to go searching after its double ; 
and I imagine it would be extremely un- 
pleasant to have another soul playing 
through life at hide and seek with mine." 

" That is mine own Annie's sentence once 

17—2 



260 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

more. She brightens up, she laughs, she 
makes faces mentally at hobgoblins, and 
defies them. She can be merry, though 
we talk of serious subjects. Serious sub- 
jects must sometimes be spoken of. I can- 
not tell why it happens that one I knew 
long, long ago has been in my thoughts 
to-day. I knew her young, I heard her 
sing when her voice gave promise, and again 
when the promise had been fulfilled. She 
was one of those of whom one says two 
babies were born, and the voice was sent 
to the wrong one ; for she never looked as 
though she ought to have had a voice, or 
to be on the stage, or anywhere except in 
a palace, perhaps, with everything grand 
about her, and everybody waiting upon 
her. 

" She did not seem to have a morsel of 
passion. The angels could not be sweeter, 
colder, fairer than that young gM. She 
could not act — she did not understand 
what actmg meant, and nobody could teach 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 261 

her ; but she could walk , and the way in 
which she crossed the stage always brought 
down the house. Then she curtseyed ; 
night after night she swept her ac- 
knowledgments to the audience with a 
grace that produced thunders of applause. 
I close my eyes that have seen so much 
since those old days, and the blue eyes, the 
cloud of golden hair, the deHcate com- 
plexion, the sHght, lithe figure, the pure, 
saint-like expression, are present pleasures 
once more. Had I, Droigel, been asked to 
name the last woman I knew ever likely to 
have a history attached to her memory, I 
should have said — there, never mind who. 
" She was making her fortune — and the 
fortunes of how many others might she 
not have made ! — when a young gentleman, 
one of your great EngHsh famihes, fell — 
soh ! over head and ears — in love. He 
was of a house and a race respectable to a 
marvel, honest, honourable. At her feet he 
laid all he had — his title — he was titled — 



262 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

his fortune, himself. In a word, would she 
marry him ? In a word, she said, yes, 

" That did not surprise me. His asking 
her did not surprise me. I suspected she 
had a hankering after the good things and 
great people of society. I fancied he 
seemed a big fish landed to her. I con- 
cluded her divine eyes, her seraphic ex- 
pression, her charming locks had conquered 
him. 

" ' And you relinquish your profession 
without a sigh. Mademoiselle V I said, 
after offermg, in my clumsy way, the best 
wishes I knew how to express. 'You leave 
your admirers inconsolable ; you depart for 
ever from a stage which may never behold 
your like agam ?' 

" ' Yes, Droigel ; yes, yes, yes,' she 
answered, with a charming petulance. ' I 
am weary of my profession — so weary, I 
hope never to hear a note of music again. 
My admirers will console themselves before 
another season has passed, and I shall de- 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 263 

part from a stage I feel thankful to leave 
for ever.' 

" 'I was right, then/ I remarked. ' The 
voice angelic was sent by Heaven to 
another infant, but delivered by mistake to 
you.' 

" Whereat she laughed, and asked me to 
explain ; and when I explained, she laughed 
still more. 

" ' Dear Droigel,' she made reply, ' the 
same idea has occurred to me so often, so 
often, only I could never put it into words. 
You are right. Somewhere a youth or a 
maiden is living a wretched life because of 
the voice given in error to me. I ought 
never to have been a singer ; it is not my 
r61e in the least.' 

" ' You think that of a grande madams 
will suit you better V I suggested. 

*" I mean to try,' she answered gaily. 
' Come and see, Droigel, how I support my 
character.' 

" ' Child,' I said, ' if you are really going 



264 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

to try this new life, better leave the old 
entirely behind you. Between Droigel and 

Lady there is a gulf fixed ; but if 

Mademoiselle ever wants anything in which 
Droigel can serve her, she has but to hold 
up her finger and say, " Come." ' 

" ' Dear friend !' was all she answered ; 
and then she held out both her soft white 
hands to me, and I would have kissed 
them ; but she drew me towards her, and 
touched my cheek with her Hps. I had 
known her when she was young, so young." 

Herr Droigel paused. For once, I be- 
lieve his emotion was sincere. Then he 
resumed — 

" Time went by — one, two, three, four 

years — and Lady , the once admired 

singer, had settled down into private life, 
and was almost forgotten. With great 
persuasion, her husband had prevailed upon 
his family to receive her. She had been, 
like most geniuses, lowly born, and the fact 
of her having risen to notoriety by her 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 265 

marvellous voice, did not help to mend her 
position in a house the members of which 
were pious as they were proud. Consider 
that conjunction, Annie — pious and proud. 
To me it seems awful. 

" All this while scandal passed her by — 
gossip left her name out of its records. Then, 
one fine morning came my lady to me. 

" ' Droigel,' said she, ' I am weary of my 
life. I long for the old existence, for the 
clapping, the excitement, the audience, the 
orchestra, the bouquets. I must sing once 
more, once if it be only once, and you must 
manage it for me.' 

"'And my lord?' I ventured to remind 
her. 

" ' Droigel,' she asked, ' are you going 
to stand my friend, or are you not V 

" ' I hope I am, madame,' I answered ; 
and the good God knows I meant to be 
her true, true friend, though it all turned 
out so miserably. 

" I went to my lord ; I told liim her 



266 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

desire. In his set face, as he hstened, I 
read the story of their married life, and his 
ultimatum did not therefore astonish me. 

" ' Lady might return to the stage if 

she pleased, on two conditions : one, that 
she resumed her maiden name ; another, 
that she agreed never to seek agam to be- 
hold her children.' 

" I tried to move him, but in vain. She 
could take her choice — her art or her home. 
She had rendered his home miserable 
enough. For her he had made sacrifices, 
he said, such as none could imagine, and 
now she forgot all that ; she wished to go 
and exhibit herself once more. 

" That was his idea of the nature of an 
artiste's feehngs. Well, but then none of 
us had ever thought she had the feelings of 
an artiste ! 

" The childi^en gained his point. She 
went back to her home and her duty. She 
loved the babies ; oh, if ever there was 
maternal love, that woman had it. Let me 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 267 

hasten on. The opera season once more ; 
big bills — Reappearance of Mademoiselle 
. The lessee has, &c. &c. 

" My dear, you might have knocked me 
down with a feather, I rushed hither, 
thither : every one was asking ; no one 
could tell. I went to my lord's town house ; 
my lord was not in town. I ascertained 
by result of much trouble that my lord was 
not at any of his many mansions in the 
comitry ; that he was not visitmg the 
Dowager Lady his mother, or any of his 
other friends ; but that he was gone abroad. 
No one could say where, and no one could 
say either when he would return. 

" I tried to see Mademoiselle herself, in 
vam. I failed to procure even one glimpse 
except upon the stage. Yes — she re- 
appeared. Once more the divine voice, 
once more the superb walk. Again the 
curtsey, the grace whereof had almost 
become historical. A second time she 
appeared, and I heard her then also» 



268 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

After which the papers stated she had been 
attacked by sudden illness, and would be 
unable to fulfil her engagement. 

" So time went by. I could learn 
nothing rehable about her, till one night I 
was sent for suddenly to the house of a 
good and wise physician, and — but no, I 
will not tell you the tragedy which had 
occurred. Her husband was written for, and 
returned too late. She was dead when he 
came, happily for herself." 

Whether Herr Droigel's reticence was 
induced by a desire to spare my feehngs, 
or a consciousness that if he divulged the 
whole circumstances of the case, it might 
have spoiled the eifect of his argument, I 
can only conjecture. 

Certain it is, had I known then, as I 
knew afterwards, that the poor lady was 
insane when she returned to the stage ; 
that her mania, previously unsuspected, 
declared itself positively after her second 
appearance ; that she subsequently fell 



A SLIGHT REMINISCENCE. 269 

iiito a state of profound melancholy, and 
was placed under the care of that good and 
wise physician Herr Droigel mentioned ; 
that the tragedy he referred to was the 
murder of her baby by the poor demented 
creature, I should stoutly have denied that 
at the door of either art or marriage so 
terrible a catastrophe could be laid ; but I 
am not so certain now that my contradiction 
would have been right. 

The life she had to lead in her husband's 
house was enough to kill any one who 
knew the meaning of the word "liberty." 
Cold though her nature was, small though 
her Bohemian procHvities were, still the 
bars of her golden cage must have broken 
the heart that beat m vam against them. 

But of the true mcidents of the lady's life 
I was then ignorant, and consequently Herr 
Droigel' s narrative and conversation left me 
with three questions wandering through 
my mind, none of which I coidd answer. 

What was the nature of the tragedy 



270 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

that he so darkly indicated % Why had 
he, usually so reticent on such matters, 
introduced the subject of matrimony, and 
persisted in discussing the imprudence of 
art committing bigamy, to make use of his 
own idea ? And third, who m the world 
could he imagine I should want to marry, 
or would wish to marry me ? 




CHAPTEH XI. 




2^ 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 

HE fact of HeiT Droigel honouring 
me with liis confidence was not 
the only surprise I experienced 
on my journey back to London. 

" You love the country, Annie," he sug- 
gested. " The leaves and the flowers of 
summer, and the bare branches and dry 
twigs of winter." 

"Yes," I answered, finduig he paused for 
a reply ; "I love the country at all times 
and in all seasons," 

" You would Hke to live there con- 
tmually." 

" That would depend," I said. 

" Upon what ? You speak like an 
enigma." 



272 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" And you ask such singular questions," 
I retorted. " Of course I love the country, 
but I should not Hke to go back and live 
there always, unless I had first done some- 
thing — made a success, or proved a failure," 
I added, wondering at my own boldness in 
pronouncing the last word. 

" Less elegantly, but more epigrammati- 
cally, — ' made a spoon or spoiled a horn,' " 
said my companion. " I understand what 
you mean. We have been playing 
at cross-purposes. When I spoke of 
' country,' I had not in my thoughts a 
place similar to Alford, or even the be- 
loved Lovedale, but a cot with its back 
door opening into London, and its front 
door affording access to green fields, to 
lanes so beautiful, to walks tranquil as 
a dream. How would such a habitation 
suit the tastes of romantic Annie ?" 

Homantic Annie, behoving that the 
question was entirely a supjDOsititious one, 
relating to some vaguely-mtended change 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 273 

•of residence at a future and indefinite 
period, replied that it would suit her tastes 
well. 

" Then it is yours !" said Herr Droigel, 
clasping my hand between both of his, and 
turning up his eyes in an ecstacy. " We 
are flying there now I The country-bred 
b)ird will with dehght enter mto possession 
of her nest embosomed in ivy." 

" What do you mean T \ asked. " Have 
you taken a new house ?" 

" Behold the divine common sense of the 
EngHsh nation exhibited even in the 
tender person of this unsophisticated 
•child 1" exclaimed Herr Droigel, addressing 
vacancy. " I talk poetry to her ; I would 
have discoursed of honeysuckle, bowers, and 
nightingales ; but she seizes my imagina- 
tion, and with relentless grasp brings me 
back to the level ground of fact." 

" There are no honeysuckles, leafy 
bowers, or nightingales now," I re- 
marked. 

VOL. II. 18 



274 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" There will be, and I can see and 
hear and smell them," he rephed. "I 
stand in the porch, and the scent of 
flowers floats to me in the calm evening 
air ; I open my wmdows, and the roses 
put in theu' pretty fresh faces ; I sit up 
at night to compose my poor songs, I lay 
down my pen, and there arises a burst of 
melody." 

" Then you have taken a new house," I 
interrupted. 

"Thou hast spoken, httle maiden," he 
answered. 

" Where is it ?" I asked. 

" Where is it ? Let me think. As you 
stand under the dome of St. PauFs, it is 
north. How far north ? You wish to 
know. Not far. Young feet with no care 
clogging their stej)s might walk to West- 
minster and feel little weariness. It is 
the typical cottage of happy England. It 
stands a little back from the road — the 
road, by the way, is a lane — sheltered from 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 275 

vulgar gaze by high hedges of yew, thorn, 
and privet. Fairy thorns, weeping wil- 
lows, drooping ash-trees, stately evergreen 
oaks stud the tidy lawn ; the porch is a 
mass of honeysuckles, roses, and ivy — 
the three strive together for mastery ; the 
rooms are small, the rooms are low ; but 
they open one into another, and so out 
on to a garden, where southern breezes 
woo the modest violets to bloom, and the 
tender primroses to start into beauty. 
Does the description please you, Annie, 
my child ? Say, is it the modest ideal 
crystallized T 

I had not crystallized in my own mind 
the question I wanted to ask concerning 
this sudden change of residence, and so 
remained silent, revolving the problem 
unexpectedly presented, till Herr Droigel 
inquired — 

" Of what is the child thinking thus 
earnestly, with bent brow and dowaicast 
eye, and lips compressed T 

18—2 



276 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" I was wondering," I answered, " whe- 
ther you would be frank with me ?" 

" Frank with you !" he exclaimed. " Am 
I not always frank to a fault ? open as the 
day ? Ask, and I reply, dear Annie. What 
hast thou in thy mind to say f 

" I want to know why you have moved 
from London, and so suddenly." 

" Explicit," he observed ; then pro- 
ceeded : " Were I not frank, did I ever 
keep anything hidden behind the door of 
my thoughts, I should now give you a 
dozen reasons for the change, any one of 
which might be true, and yet keep back 
the truest of all. You see what a weapon 
it puts in your hands deahng with a 
man who has nothing in reserve, who, in 
matters of the world, is guileless as a 
baby. And you too, Annie, you are guile- 
less ; but you are wise and prudent, and 
reasonable for your years. Listen to me. 
The time comes, say in another twelve 
months, when we must try, you and I, 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 277 

our little venture. We must take that 
first step which costs, and whenever or 
however it is taken, I want no one to 
have a foreofone conclusion as to how it is 
likely to turn out. I have enemies. Who 
has not ? There are those who could tear 
the flesh from ofi" my bones, because I have 
composed a few songs that have become 
popular. Some, strange as it sounds, are 
even jealous of my small musical know- 
ledge. They say ' Bah !' when Droigel 
is praised. When an audience is so good 
as to clap — as is the barbarian practice in 
England — and shout ' Encore !' they hiss, 
they cry ' Hush !' they shrug their shoul- 
ders. Now, if one of these heard I had 
a pupil with a promise, they would at once 
begin disparaging. They would exclaim, 
* Pooh, pooh ! we know Droigel's dreams 
of old. He has no sense, no understanding, 
he recoofnises not a voice when he hears 
it ; he beheves in voices which are not. 
This giii will make a fiasco.' And the 



278 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

British critic — who himself comprehends 
nothing of music, and who forms the 
opinions of the British pubhc, who com- 
prehend less — will listen and be persuaded. 
He will write : ' The young lady's upper 
notes are reedy ; or her lower, rough ; or 
her middle, weak.' Or he will say : ' She 
lacks expression, or her time is defective, 
or her ear false.' " 

" What a prospect !" I remarked. 

"It is nothing," said Herr Droigel ; 
"the poor man has his bread to earn, and 
we have ours. It is my business to get 
the start of enemies and idiots. It is 
for me to make at one stroke a coup which 
shall settle your position in the judgments 
of those whose judgments are worth 
having. Besides, we shall want all the 
health and strength, all the energy and 
courage and faith the pure country air 
knows so well how to give. A home by the 
murmuring sea might have been preferable, 
but I could not compass that, alas ! No." 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 279 

" Then," said I, " you desire to take me a 
Sabbath-day's journey into the wilderness, 
solely that I may be beyond the reach of 
your enemies." 

" Consequently yours ; though they may 
not as yet be aware there is in existence a 
creature in every respect so adm.irable as 
our Annie." 

" And not to render it impossible I should 
ever see any of my friends T I went on, 
ignoring the compliment contained in his 
reply. Compliments from Herr Droigel 
were to me fast becoming almost as 
valueless as pearls to swina 

"Who are your friends'?" he asked, 
without a trace of surprise. " Your good 
uncle, the adorable Packmans " 

" Say also, for the sake of argument, 
Miss Cleeves," I interrupted, for^eeing and 
dreading the adjectives which would be 
prefixed to the names of Madame, Gretchen, 
and himself. 

"What !" he exclaimed, innocently; "that 



280 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

Miss so piquante, so clever, so bewitching, 
who ate and drank with a naturahiess and 
perseverance most commendable ; Miss wha 
condescended to let me walk by her side 
to the house of her uncle ; Miss who did 
talk, talk, talk ; who has but one fault, 
that she is too clever ; Miss, so affectionate, 
so eccentric ! That Miss would not be your 
friend at this supreme crisis, Annie, but 
your enemy." 

" And why ?" I asked. 

" She loves you, but she has" no sense in 
her love. She would speak of that a& 
a certainty which is as yet but a hope. 
She would run hither, thither, saying to 
this one and to that, ' You must take tickets 
in order to hear my friend ; she sings like 
an angel ; I have known her since she was 
a baby ; she has the most wonderful voice 
in the world ; she has been instructed by 
that funny fat old Droigel ;' and so forth, 
and so forth, and so forth. And then her 
friends might be disappointed and say. 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 281 

' Pooh, the girl is a nothing ; I wish I had 
my money back that I was so fooHsh as to 
pay for hearing a ballad I could have sung 
better myself.' " 

I have before said it would be vain to 
attempt a reproduction in writmg of Herr 
Droigel's EngHsh, and it seems almost as 
hopeless to describe by any word-descrip- 
tion the manner in which he gesticulated 
whilst deHvering himself of the foregoing 
sentence. He pulled his face into all sorts, 
of contortions, he shrugged his huge 
shoulders, he mimicked Miss Cleeves' 
voice and manner, he kept his hands, 
moving about as though on the key-board 
of a piano to indicate the way in which 
she would run hither and thither. He was. 
irresistibly funny, and for the life of me 
I could not help laughing even while I 
answered — 

" But that is precisely what Miss Cleeves. 
will do, whether you keep me m sohtary 
confinement or not." 



282 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

In a moment Herr Droigel was quiet, 
over his features there came an expression 
of touching melancholy. 

" You should not have said that, child, 
dear to me as one of mine own ; you should 
not hurt wantonly one who has been a 
friend to you — faithful, true." 

" I am sure you have," I hastened to 
reply, " and I did not mean to hurt you. 
I did not mean the expression hterally, of 
course. Pray forgive me, I am sorry to 
have vexed you." 

And I was sorry, for the man had been 
kind and good to me ; I was young too in 
those days, and young people do not, as a 
rule, like hurting the feelings of their 
elders. The tears stood in my eyes for 
very shame at thought of my petulance, 
and I stretched out both hands in token 
of repentance. Sadly and solemnly Herr 
Droigel accepted them and my submission. 

" You are a good child, Annie, and very 
dear to me ; but you are weak, and I have 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 283 

my fears for your future. You never did, you 
never do, walk straight on firm and fast 
by reason of being quite sure where you 
mean to go. You hear one say that the 
road is foil of dangers, you must not 
attempt to travel it, and so you halt and 
linger there ; then you go a little farther, and 
another exclaims, * You are not pursuing 
the right path !' so you, like Christian in the 
divine allegory of your Bunyan, turn aside 
into field-paths through which you flounder 
into Doubting Castle and the hands of that 
special enemy of all of a hesitating tem- 
perament, the great Giant Despair. Then 
one comes to you and takes you by the 
hands, and talks to you softly, and offers 
to put you in a way of reaching the goal, 
and is quite determined to have care of 
you by the road. He is able to fulfil the 
promise made audible to the dear sensible 
uncle, and silently and sacredly to his 
own soul. In his own rough manner 
he tries to make the adopted child happy, 



284 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

good, successfiil. He pets, he scolds, he 
teaches, he entreats, he storms, till the 
voice which was once only sweet, becomes a 
marvel of flexibility and power ; till success, 
if she will only take heed, is a certainty, 
not a possibiHty ; and then behold what 
happens ! The pupil so promising meets a 
Miss whom she knew for a day or two 
years ago, who never did her anything but 
mischief, whose proud relations drove the 
beloved grandmother to seek in her de- 
chning years a strange home in a strange 
place, and in a moment she begins to doubt 
again, she wants to go ofl* hand in hand 
with the clever demoiselle ; she would ruin 
her chances, she would go here, there, 
everywhere, she would sing to any one, 
she whose notes are precious ; and because 
Droigel puts down his foot and says no, 
the poor silly little mddchen huffs, pouts, 
frets, and is very much inclined to quarrel 
with one of the few real friends she has in 
this wide, cold world." 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 285 

" It is not SO, Herr Droigel," I answered, 
when at length the wordy torrent mode- 
rated. " I confess I have been out of 
temper, but not for the reason you state. 
I know you have taught me all I am able 
to do. I know you have spared no pains to 
make me a singer ; I daresay you under- 
stand what is good for me much better 
than I do myself, and I am quite ready to 
do anything you tell me if you only explain 
why you desire it ; if — if only you will not 
treat me hke a child." 

" And, mein Gott," ejaculated Herr 
Droigel, turning up his eyes and invoking 
some deity included in his own theology, 
and of which certainly no recognised creed 
had knowledge, " what are you but a child ? 
Suppose for the sake of talking babble, I 
say when we arrive in London, ' Good-bye, 
sweet one ; we part here, big Droigel and 
little Annie ;' what would you do ?" 

" I cannot tell," I rephed ; "but that is 
nothing to the point, for most women 



286 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

would not know what to do if left suddenly 
alone in a great town where they have only 
lived in one house, the door of which is 
shut upon them. I am not a child, and it 
makes me cross to be treated like one. 
There, Herr Professor, you have had your 
say, and I have had mine." 

"Oh, these women," he murmured, softly, 
" these children !" 

*' These men !" I added, laughing. 

" You are a naughty girl," he remarked ; 
" but Droigel cannot be unforgiving to his 
youngest, to the Benjamin of his age. You 
are a child no longer, you say, and — well, 
to please you we will cede the point. What 
does Annie the woman want T 

" She wants you to treat her as you 
would a woman," I began — here Herr 
Droigel cast a look upon me which was at 
once a mixture of amusement and comj)as- 
sion — "not to humour and deceive her as 
you might a baby." 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 287 

" Go on, I listen to you," he said ; " con- 
descend to explain." 

" For instance," I proceeded, " had you 
told me your views concerning Miss Cleeves, 
I should have written to let her know ex- 
actly how matters stood." 

" Go on," he repeated ; " I listen, I ad- 
mire. Oh, the tact so divine of this 
English people !" 

" There was no need to make a mystery 
about it," I continued, boldly ; " there was 
no necessity to go abroad." 

" How grateful is this English people !" 
he interrupted ; " they deserve to be — rich." 

" I hope I am not ungratefdl," I said ; 
" I have had a dehghtful trip — I never en- 
joyed anything so much in all my life as I 
did our journey ; but still, had you said one 
word to me, only one, that evening Miss 
Cleeves spent with us " 

" Enough," he said, as I paused, really 
not knowing how to proceed — " enough ! 



288 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

I think I comprehend the intricacies of 
your heart now. To spare you trouble, to 
keep the bloom on the peach, the dew on 
the rose, the green leaves over the sweet 
violet, I have held you in ignorance of 
some few whys and wherefores. You want 
all that swept away ; you would have the 
veil of mist wliich intervenes between youth 
and reahty dispelled ; you want to look out 
through plate-glass on a world which has 
some ugly corners ; you want nothing sof- 
tened, nothing concealed ; you want me, to 
use your imperfect English expression — 
gauche, as all English expressions must of 
necessity prove — ' to be frank with you.' " 

" If you can," I answered, eagerly. I 
did not mean to be rude, but the sentence 
slipped out unawares. 

Herr Droigel seized hold of it, however. 

"It is for this we rear children," he said, 
addressing that imaginary audience he 
always seemed able to conjure up before his 
mind at a moment's notice. "It is for this 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 289 

we wake when others sleep ; for this we 
rise early, and take rest late ; for this we 
eat the bread of carefulness." 

" For what ?" I inquired, though I knew 
without his telling me. 

" For ingratitude which is keener than 
a serpent's tooth," he answered. 

" I am not ungrateful, I hope," I said 
for the second time. " I know all you 
have done for me. I have always been, 
■and I hope always shall be, ready to 
acknowledge that I owe every atom of 
learning I possess to you ; that you and 
Madame and Gretchen have been good 
and kind to me ; that I have been 
happy ever since I came to London ; 
but you have not been frank with me." 

" Not been frank with you ! Well, it is 
'of no use reasoning with one of your divine 
sex — ^no, not from the time she is in long 
-clothes. Have your own way, my dear, 
and your own opinion. You will have 
both, whether I say yea or whether I say 

VOL. II. 19 



290 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

nay. You want to see not merely my 
actions, but to scrutinize my reasons for 
them. You want to peep here and there^ 
like every other woman, if' there is a closed 
door, and you are told there is nothing on 
the other side of it. You want, in a word, 
to see nothing. There is nothing hidden 
in me, child of my heart, whose petulance 
I forgive. You might look down, down 
into Droigei as through the waters of a 
clear lake ; nothing lies at the bottom of 
his nature except a desire to spare pain, 
trouble, and anxiety to those who are more 
to him than himself. He has no Bluebeard 
chamber ; but though there is nothing in 
the whole of liis house worth seeing, you 
shall be made free of it. I say to you from 
this hour, Annie, take the keys and see 
whether there be any disguise, any secrecy, 
any of your English reserve, at once so 
repelling and so suspicious, about the foolish 
old dotard, who, cruel and unjust as she is 
to him, loves the orphan he found weeping 



HERR DROIGEL IS GRIEVED. 2P1 

under the shadow of a grey tower in a 
graveyard so quiet, so still, so beautiful, so 
sad." 

When he mentioned those keys which 
were to unlock the chambers of his heart, 
Herr Droigel took my hand in his and 
made a feint of putting the magic present 
into it. 

What could one do mth such a man, ex- 
cept look amiable again after having looked 
sulky ? If you tell a friend he has a smut 
on his face, and the friend persists the black 
exists only m yoiu' imagination, has been 
created solely by your deficiency of vision, 
of what avail is remonstrance or iteration ? 
He ^slSS. not believe, and there is not the 
slightest use in trying to make him be- 
lieve. 

I had drawn a shade across his trans- 
parency — that was the way in which he 
subsequently alluded to our conversation — 
but the darkness came from my nature, 
which though most "lofeable," was still 

19—2 



292 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

English and eccentric. Droigel's mind was 
"incapable of casting a shadow." 

"Is it not so, mine Annie ?" he said, 
when, I having, as usual, given way on 
every particular, we made up our little dis- 
agreement and were friends again. " Did 
you not view the faithful adopted father 
through the medium of a cloud of British 
spleen ? Have I ever had any secret from 
you which it behoved you to know ? Am 
I not clear as the day ?" 

" That goes without saying," I answered, 
weary of the controversy. 




CHAPTER XIL 



OUR INVITATION. 




HE change to the suburbs was 
in many respects pleasant ; and 
though we went to our new abode 
at a season when the worst part of the 
year for town or country is coming on, still 
to me the face of the country seemed that * 
of an old friend. 

After all, the hollies and the laurels, the 
evergreen oaks and the yew-trees, were 
better objects on which to rest one's eyes 
than the backs and fronts of other houses. 
It was agreeable, also, to sit in the 
pleasant pretty drawing-room, with the 
French windows open, singing to one's 
heart's content with never a soul to hear, 
and the rain pattering on the verandah 



294 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

by way of accompaniment to the piano. 
The kitchens were well away from the 
living rooms ; and in them Madame always 
— and Herr Droigel when at home — spent 
much time. More ineffably nasty dishes, 
more indescribably curious flats were, I 
think, concocted in Woodbine Cottage — so 
our new abode was called — than had been 
the case in the heart of London. We 
boasted a garden well stocked with herbs 
and such vegetables as fLu-nish variety in 
autumn and early and mid-winter, and 
amongst these the Professor browsed like 
an ox turned out into fresh pastures. 
Never before probably had he revelled 
amid such a profusion of good things as 
were contained in that kitchen g^arden. 
Good heavens, in what startling combina- 
tions he rejoiced I Sweet he made bitter ; 
bitter he made sweet. He stewed cabbage, 
he served up broccoh with sauces, the very 
aroma of which was an offence to my 
nostrils. Savoury herbs pervaded every 



OUR INVITATION.. -^95 

morsel we put into our lips. He divided 
his leisure between the kitchen and the 
igarden, between the range and the green- 
house. He exhausted his knowledge of 
English in adjuring a new maid-of-all-work 
and delivering lectures to the gardener — 
whom I once overheard mutterino- that 
■** the old cuss always kep' a-messing and 
a-talking and a-poking his inquisitive 
nose into places that warn't no bisness of 
hisn." 

If it had ever entered into the mind of 
this gardener that a suitable selection of 
vegetables might be made from our stock 
and devoted to his own use or that of a 
fi-iendly greengrocer between whom and 
himself pecuniary arrangements stood on a 
proper footing, he must have been a mise- 
rably disappointed man ; for I think not 
the value of a sprig of parsley escaped the 
Professor's watchful eye. Keen as was his 
ear for music, I think his sense of posses- 
sion was keener still. 



296 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

We ate vegetables "like cows," I under- 
stood was the gardener's unflattering 
comment passed upon the whole of 
us ; " and as for salads, large and small, 
they might be rabbits theirselves, they 
might." 

Had Herr Droigel been an Englishman 
he must have succumbed to that gardener. 
As it was, the gardener struck his colours, 
at the end of a month. He couldn't stand 
it, and he wouldn't ; and he didn't, for he 
went ; and as we did not entreat his re- 
turn, revenged himself by writing to his. 
master, the owner of our furnished house, 
that " Mr. Droggle" was ruining the place ; 
that he had already stripped the garden 
clean ; that he was turning the conser- 
vatory into a stove, and that every plant 
would be roasted up alive ; that we kept 
no servant, and that everything was " going 
to wrack and ruin ;" that we lived like pigs 
in a sty, and lived on made messes, slops, 
and roots— all of which mass of information 



OUR INVITATION. 297" 

was sent with the " duty of your humble 
servant, Robert Hayles." 

Certainly Mr. Hayles never would have 
written such a succiact account of our 
shortcomino-s had he considered for a mo- 
ment that it might bring his employer 
back from Devonshire, where he was 
wintering for the sake of a delicate 
vdfe. 

His idea evidently was that Mr. Merrich 
would at once insist on his tenant resign- 
ing the reins of government to Robert 
Hayles, and so avert that acme of wreck 
and ruin so tersely indicated as coming 
upon his possessions. 

Innocent of evil — for indeed we had but 
utilized for ourselves those vegetables which 
Robert Hayles considered ought to have 
been sold for the public good — we were, 
totally unaware of the threatened thunder- 
bolt, one morning pursuing our accustomed 
avocations when Mr. Merrich arrived. 

Madame was in the kitchen doing nothings 



298 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

as usual ; our maid — a snuffy and rheu- 
matic woman of threescore and ten — was 
in a very demi-toilette washing up the cups 
and saucers ; Herr Droigel had gone to 
town ; Gretchen was preparing for a pur- 
chasing expedition ; I was trying a Httle 
air I turned up in an old music-book, 
exquisitely simple, and for that reason per- 
haps all the more difficult to learn to sing 
properly — 

" Komme, lieber Mai, und maclie 
Die Baume wieder griin, 

I was beginning over again when Gretchen, 
looking handsomer than ever, and attuned 
for walking, entered the room. 

" What an idiotic air that is you are 
hammering away at, Annie !" she observed, 
with the freedom of criticism which lends 
such a charm to family intercourse. " I 
am quite weary of hearing you." 

" You wont hear me when you are out 
of the house," I answered. 
• " No ; and I hope you will have done 



OUR INVITATION. 299 

with it by the time I return," she retorted. 
" Anything you want me to get for you ? 
Adieu, then; au revoir T and she left me 
to proceed with my studies. 
Once more I began — 

" Komme, lieber Mai, und mache 
Die Baume wieder griin, 
Und lass an dem Bache 
Die kleinen Vielchen bliilin, 
Wie nocli ich doch so gerne 
Ein Yielclien — " 

At this junctiu'e the door opened for the 
second time, and Gretchen appeared, usher- 
ing in a gentleman, who bowed as I rose 
from the music-stool and glanced from him 
to Gretchen with a vague alarm. 

" Miss Trenet — Mr. Merrich," said 
Gretchen, and I knew he was there on no 
pleasant business ; but even while I guessed 
this vaguely, I understood that Gretchen's 
beauty, and Gretchen's appearance, and 
Gretchen's ready wit had averted the evil. 

" Do you know when papa will be home, 
Annie ?" she went on ; and then when I 



300 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

said I did not, without giving Mr. Merrich 
time to make any observation, she left the 
apartment, remarking — 

" If you kindly sit down for a moment, I 
will tell mamma you are here." 

Left alone with our visitor I essayed 
conversation. I tried the weather ; I made 
observations on the neighbouring scenery ; 
I even ventured to hope that Mrs. Merrich 
had derived benefit from the change to 
Devonshire. Fresh also from continental 
travel, I found something to say in dispa- 
ragement of the English climate. 

On all these varied topics Mr. Merrich 
made civil though not encouraging com- 
ments ; and I was racking my brains to 
find something more to say to him when 
he suddenly took the initiative. 

" You are a relation of Herr Droigel, I 
presmne T he began. 

" Courage," thought I. "It is easier to- 
answer questions than to originate conver- 
sation." 



OUR INVITATION. 301 

" No," I answered, aloud. " I am only a 
pupil." 

" But you reside with the family, I 
presume V 

" I have lived with Herr and Madame 
Droigel for several years." 

" You must not think me impertinent 
for making such inquiiies," he continued ; 
■" but the fact is, I received a letter about 
my tenant which induced me to come up 
from Devonshire and see Herr DroigeL 
Of course I have only to look at this 
room" (Gretchen and I, proud of the pretty 
furniture, had decked it out with flowers 
and greenery) " to feel sure the whole of 
the statements which have been made are 
untrue ; but still " 

" I cannot imagine any statement made 
about Herr Droigel to his discredit," I re- 
plied bravely enough, though my heart 
began to beat fast, for somehow the idea of 
libel, whether true or false, affects one like 
a sudden blow. " I knew him first at the 



302 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

house of a valued friend, and lie has been 
very kind to me ; and I did not imagine 
until this moment that there was any one 
in the world who would speak ill of him." 

*' There was not very much ill spoken," 
answered Mr, Merrich, with a smile. " My 
correspondent only said the house was not 
properly cared for, and that the garden was 
m shocking order. You see I am quite 
frank about the matter." 

" I do not think the house is in shocking 
order," I remarked. It would have been a 
shame if it had been, considering the pains 
Gretchen and I were at to keep it neat. 

" Neither do I, Miss Trenet," he said 
with a smile, glancing romid at the tables, 
vases, muTors, and chairs his own money 
had bought. 

" And as for the garden," I went on, 
" we were only tlii'ee days without a man 
to attend to it. The person you employed 
left suddenly, and we were unable immedi- 
ately to supply his place, but Herr Droigel 



OUR INVITATION. 303- 

saw to the conservatory himself; he is very 
fond of flowers ; and there was nothing- 
spoiled. Perhaps you would like to walk 
round and see T 

He hesitated for a moment, but then 
said straightforwardly — 

" I am rather proud of my little place, 
and should not have let it to every 
one ; so perhaps you will excuse me if I 
confess " 

" Were Herr Droigel at home," I inter- 
rupted, "he would insist, I know, upon 
your inspecting eveiy nook and corner ;" 
and wrapping a shawl round my shoulders, 
I stepped out upon the lawn, Mr. Merrich 
following. 

We paced slowly round the walks ; we 
visited the stable-yard ; we loitered in the 
conservatory ; and we became such friends 
that before we re-entered the house I had 
seen the letter, and understood we were 
indebted to Robert Hayles for the honour 
of Mr. Merrich's visit. 



304 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

I could not help laughing over the gar- 
dener's statements, they were so true 
although they were so totally false ; the 
whole epistle was such an admirable cari- 
cature of our establishment and ways of 
hfe, whilst at the same time it contamed 
such an accurate reflection of Hayles' dis- 
appointment, that it was utterly impossible 
to read the epistle with gravity. 

" I am unable to imagine, Miss Trenet, 
how you can derive amusement from such 
a, scandalous production," remarked Mr. 
Merrich. 

" He does not say anything very bad 
a,bout us," I replied. " Gretchen and I 
have been laughing ever smce we came 
here at the contest between Herr Droigel 
and your man. His habit evidently was 
formerly to provide what he chose for the 
kitchen. Herr Droigel' s habit is to take 
what he likes ; and we have had vegetables 
in every way vegetables could be cooked, 
except plamly, during the course of the 



OUR INVITATION. 805 

last few weeks. I shall not know a carrot 
or a turnip if I ever see it dressed au natural 
again. Here," I went on, " is the Professor s 
stove. He has made himself a little forcing- 
house in this corner for raising salads ; but 
I do not think the place is going to ' wrack 
and ruin' at present," 

" Really, Miss Trenet, I am disgusted to 
think I ever had such a fellow in my em- 
ployment, and I feel utterly ashamed to 
have for a moment given credence to his 
slanders." 

Presently Gretchen joined us. Softening 
down the more grievous accusations brought 
by Hayles against the Droigel family, I 
told her he had represented we were faMy 
stripping the grounds ; and she afforded us 
considerable amusement by speculating how 
her father would dkect arbor-vitae sprigs to 
be served, or what sort of physical con- 
dition we should be m after a stew of 
laurel-leaves. 

" She had been desu^ed by her mother," 
VOL. IL 20 



306 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

she said, " to request Mr. Merricli to join 
us at luncheon." Gretchen had even then 
an eye to effect, and did not choose to call 
our midday repast dhmer. " It would be 
a satisfaction," she remarked, " for him 
to have something out of his own garden 
before we finished the whole of its con- 
tents." 

With the ah of a man who felt he had 
been placed in a very false position, and 
who was determined to speak a few words 
of a disagreeable nature to liis late em- 
ploye, Mr. Merrich accepted the invitation, 
and we entered the dining-room, where 
Gretchen had with her own hands set out 
the table, and where we found Madame 
dressed in her best black-silk gown, a cap 
on her head, and her hair tidy. 

" What a task I have had !" wliispered 
Gretchen, and she made a nioue expressive 
of the endurance of much mental anguish. 

But it would not have mattered much 
what Madame had donned. Our land- 



OUR INVITATION. 307 

lord's eyes were too intently occupied with 
Gretchen — ^who, fair and tall and gracefiil, 
looked the very incarnation of a future 
queen of song — for him to have leisure to 
scrutinize very intently the appearance or 
■attire of any other person present. 

" I suppose," he began after a tim-e, 
speaking in that stilted phraseology whicli 
so many people think proper to adopt when 
addressing a person who is a public charac- 
ter, or any embryo who is likely to become 
so — " I suppose it was in your interest 
Herr Droigel sought this retirement !" 

" No," Gretchen answered, smiling ; " I 
think had he consulted either my interest 
or my wishes, he would have remamed in 
town. I am not particularly fond of the 
country, or its counterfeit the suburbs." 

" Oh, I beg yoiu^ pardon. I under- 
stood — that is, I unagmed Herr Droigel 
hinted something about quietness and 
repose being necessary for perfect health 
and voice, " 

20—2 



308 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

" My health is perfect, thank you," she 
said ; " and 1 have no voice. It is Miss 
Trenet on whom all our hopes centre ; but 
Miss Trenet has at present a disagreeable 
trick of building up hopes one day, and 
destroying them the next." 

"How can you say so!" exclaimed 
Madame, in thick gTittiurals ; then address- 
ing Mr. Merrich she went on, " Our Annie 
has not much look of being one day a 
singer professional." 

" No," he answered, slowly, casting at 
the same time a curious glance at my un- 
likely person ; " no. I never was more 
deceived in my life. I certainly con- 
cluded — I should have said decidedly " 

"And you would have said aright," I 
interrupted. " Herr Droigel told me a 
story a little time since of a voice which 
was sent in mistake to the wrong person. 
Mme is a similar case. No owner has as yet 
come to claim my voice ; but I am quite 
certain it does not rightly belong to me." 



OUR INVITATION. 309 

" There is papa !" exclaimed Gretchen, 
rising and going out to meet him. She 
was not a second away, but I knew by her 
expression when she returned that ah^eady 
Herr Droigel was au courant with the 
whole state of affairs. 

Gretchen and I had few reserves in those 
days. 

" What a blessing I chanced to be going 
out when our worthy landlord appeared !" 
she said to me afterwards ; "and what a mercy 
papa was not at home and roaming about in 
that disgraceful old dressing-gown 1" 

In his town-going costume the father 
found favour in Mr. Merrich's eyes. He 
gave his guest a cordial greeting, and 
desired Gretchen to produce some wine, 
which had come direct from his own native 
town of Mayence. Herr Droigel was apt 
to adopt as his own all towns in which he 
had ever sojourned. Abroad he always 
spoke of London as that dear foster-mother, 
or the English god-mamma who had pre- 



310 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

sented her unworthy child with silver 
spoons and mugs undeserved. 

Wliilst he and Mr. Merrich sipped the 
Marcobrlinner, which I do not believe either 
of them really liked, Gretchen took up the 
parable of Hayles' enormities. 

Herr Droigel listened thoughtfully, and 
Mr. Merrich looked at me vdth the en- 
treating eyes of one who should say — 

" Pray never tell them the exact contents, 
of that letter." 

Perhaps his conscience whispered he 
ought not to have expected much mercy 
from me ; but I had been for so long a 
time accustomed to walk overshadowed by 
Gretchen that I forgave his evident disap- 
pointment at my appearance, and answered 
him with a reassuring glance. 

" Ha !" commented Herr Droigel, when 
Gretchen had finished her narrative, in- 
terrupted by idiotic comments from Madame 
— " ha, I will be one with the sorry rogue 
some day." 



OUR INVITATION. 311 

He was holding his glass between him- 
self and the Hght, and looking at the wine 
it contained with one eye shut as he de- 
livered himself of this statement, altogether 
presenting a ludicrous appearance ; and yet 
spite of the absurdity of his expression and 
the moderation of his speech, it occurred to 
me, and also I think to Mr. Merrich, that 
he would be as good as his word. 

Ere long he asked our landlord if he 
would join him in a cigar, and for some half 
an hour the pair paced up and down the 
lawn on which the drawing-room windows 
opened, whilst Gretchen busied herself with 
some coloured wool-work, which formed a 
pleasant contrast to her white fingers ; and 
Madame, weary of her tight-fitting dress 
and longing to be out of it, sat down in an 
easy-chair, and gave utterance at intervals 
to heart-breaking sighs. 

As for me, I began to copy the little 
song to which I had taken such a fancy. 
It was contained in a great cumbersome 



312 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

volume, troublesome to lift and place 
properly on the piano, and I wished to 
have it in some more accessible form. 

"Are not you getting sick of music, 
Annie T asked Miss Gretchen at length, 
smothering a yawn as she put her ques- 
tion. 

" Yes, of my own," I replied. 

" Why do you not ask your second 
parent when he intends to give his adopted 
child a chance of making use of all she 
has acquired V 

" I have asked him, and he says he does 
not know — that when the wave comes in 
we must go out upon it." 

" What an utterance !" exclaimed Gret- 
chen, and she resumed her work in 
silence. 

After a pause, she began again — 

" Annie, do use another pen or else a 
pencil ; that scratching makes me feel so 
irritable. I should like to get up and 
pull your hair." 



OUR INVITATION. 313 

" You were more amiable at luncheon," 
I observed, making the exchange she re- 
quested. 

" Oh, of course ; one had to be agreeable. 
One did not want to be turned out of the 
house and with ignominy ; but I declare, 
what with the shock of meeting that 
strange individual, and the anguish I 
endured in making my mother more pre- 
sentable, and the trouble it was to induce 
Susan to bring in the dishes and take her- 
self away, I feel quite worn out." 

" You look worn out, Gretchen," I 
agreed ; " your eyes are heavy and your 
€heeks pale." 

" Nonsense," she iaterrupted, turning 
sharply round to catch a glimpse of herself 
in a mirror ; " what a httle story-teller you 
are, Annie !" 

" Nay, it was you who said you were 
worn out," I remonstrated. 

" But you said I looked worn out," she 
retorted. 



314 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

"I think the one statement was about as 
true as the other," was my answer. 

" Having settled that to your own 
satisfaction, what do you think of Mr. 
Merrich T 

" I do not think much of him either for 
good or for evil," I answered. " I think he 
is like most people — there is very little in 
him either to praise or blame. He appears 
to me " 

" Hush," cried Gretchen, " here they 
come ;" and she bent her head over her 
many-coloured wools, and I went on with 
my copying, and Madame raised herself in 
her chair, grasping the arms with both 
hands ; and the steps came nearer, nearer, 
crunching over the gravel. 

It is hard to tell why some days stand 
out so much more clearly m one's memory 
than others — days marked by no special 
incident, distinguished apparently by no 
circumstance calculated to impress itself on 
the recollection — and yet the years gone 



OUR INVITATION. 315 

by contain such for each and all of us. 
Dreaming by the firelight, looking out 
over the sea, resting on the green hill-side, 
wandering through the woods, loitering as 
the rivulet wmds its devious way, smging 
its low song to the bending ferns and 
grasses — some days, some hours, for no 
reason that we can discover, come forth 
from the recesses of the past and are 
present with us once again. 

The day of Mr. Merrich's visit was one 
of those marked in my life, and I never 
could tell why, since the man exercised no 
influence on my future. 

Sometimes I have fancied that, as coming 
events cast their shadows before, so, when 
unconsciously our feet cross a fresh boun- 
dary and our circumstances enter a fresh 
epoch of experience, a subtle instinct 
stamps the seemingly unimportant moment 
on our minds. That, at any rate, is the 
only reason I can give why the little room, 
occupied as I have described, is still present 



316 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

to my mental vision — why the sound of 
lieavy footsteps treading loose gravel under- 
foot comes back as though my ear were 
listening to it now. 

The footsteps drew near, then stopped 
outside the first window, through which 
Mr. Merrich entered, followed by Herr 
Droigel. 

" He said good-bye with much regret," 
he was kind enough to assure us. " He 
liad spent a delightful afternoon ;" this I 
thoroughly believed. "He hoped he should 
have the pleasure at some not remote 
period of seeing us all in Devonshire ;" and 
in conclusion, when the time came for 
taking leave especially of me, he held my 
hand for a moment whilst wishing me every 
-success in my profession. 

I know now what was passing in his 
mind. He thought it just on the cards 
that one day — who could tell ? — even poor 
little I might do something, be a somebody. 

The chance was remote ; but the way in 



OUR INVITATION. 317 

which fortune deals out unexpected honoui^s 
to unlikely people is remarkable, so it was 
worth while being civil — worth while, spite 
of the shrug of his shoulders and shake of 
his head, reflected in one of Mr. Merrich's 
own mirrors, I caught sight of Herr Droigel 
executing for his guest's private informa- 
tion. 

After this fashion the talk tended, I 
knew, as the Professor attended his guest 
to the outer gate — 

" She has a httle voice, this Annie, so 
dear to us all ; and if she rest much and 
take care of her health, and acquires courage 
and makes friends — who knows ? — she may 
have a moderate success. Let us hope so." 

For me, the time when shrug or shake 
of my master's could seriously impress or 
depress me had gone by. I had lived too 
long behind the scenes for the trick and 
mannerisms of that actor to impress me 
painfully ; and so, with a mind uninfluenced 
by the dismal fiasco that shrug and shake 



318 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

were meant to shadow forth, I returned to 
my copying, while Gretchen went upstairs 
to equip herself once more in walking- 
costume, and Madame hurried after to 
change her black-silk dress for a deshabille 
that proved the more distressing by dint of 
contrast with the fine feathers in which 
Gretchen had decked her. 

As for Herr Droigel, when next he ap- 
peared it was in an old pair of trousers, 
the dressing-gown abhorrent to myself and 
Gretchen, a waistcoat unbuttoned, and in 
lieu of cravat an old red handkerchief 
twisted round his neck. On his head he 
wore a battered straw hat, which he cere- 
moniously removed on entering the draw- 
ing-room. 

" Annie, my child, I absolve you from 
lessons this afternoon. I go to make my- 
self a sash " 

"A what, Herri" I inquu*ed, looking in 
his face, which beamed with pleasure and 
excitement. 



OUR INVITATION. 319 



"A glass — how do you call it? — this- 



" Oh, a wmdow sash. What in the 
world do you want that for ?" 

" I want to grow myself more salad — 
more green meats, more lettuce stuff, more 
everjrtlung. " 

" Then you are going to make a cucumber 
frame V 

" Thou hast it, Annie beloved — a cu- 
cumber frame. You will marvel to see 
what I plant in it. There, I must hurry 
away. Be good and practise. Farewell, 
dear child." And kissing his hand he 
departed. 

I had finished my copying by this time, 
and was not sorry to occupy the next hour 
in learning the song. 

Simple and easy as was the au% I could 
not satisfy myself as to the manner of its 
performance. 

Karely had I been so taken with a 
melody. It was graceftil, it was charming ; 
further, it was all my own. I had never 



320 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

seen it before. Never heard it. Never 
heard of it. 

Possibly had Herr Droigel set me the 
task I raight not have cared to complete it. 
As the matter stood, I worked at that 
song. I sang it over and over and over. I 
tried it in one time and another. I changed 
the key. I experimented with this expres- 
sion and with that ; and when twilight 
came I knew it perfectly. I could sit in 
the dark and let the notes flash out — 
rising, fallmg, coming, going, whilst my 
hands touched the keys lightly, softly indi- 
cating an accompaniment rather than play- 
ing one. 

That night at supper Herr Droigel said 
to me, " What was it I heard you suigmg 
all by yourself with no hght in the room T 

"She has been at it all day," explamed 
Gretchen ; "a horrid stupid thmg. I am 
sick of the melody, if it have one." 

" Will you be quiet, Miss T exclauned 
her father, with more asperity than he 



OUR INVITATION. 



usually evinced towards beautiful golden- 
haired Gretchen. " I addressed my question 
to Annie, not to you." 

" I daresay " Gretchen was begin- 
ning, but I broke across her speech by 
saying — 

"It is a little song of Mozart's." 

" Nonsense ! Absurd ! You talk without 
understanding !" cried the Professor. 

" I assure you it is by Mozart." 

*' Then I say no ; or if yes, you have 
smged hini wrong." When excited Herr 
Droigel's English was peculiar. 

" I sung it right," I answered sturdily. 
" I have been practismg it all day, off and 
on. 

" Then come with me at once." And he 
rose, and seizing a candle proceeded to- 
wards the door, I following. 

" Papa, there is macaroni !" called out 
Gretchen. 

" Droigel, Annie goes off leaving her 
unfinished supper," expostulated Madame. 

VOL. II. 21 



322 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

What Herr Droigel said in reply to both 
observations it is not for me to repeat in 
extenso. All I know is that an avalanche of 
German words were preceded by a very 
Enghsh " damn," which I understood to 
apply especially to his macaroni and my 
supper. 

By the time the objui'gation was finished, 
we had reached the drawing-room and the 
piano. 

" Now for your Mozart, Miss," said Herr 
Droigel, putting down the candle with a 
bang. 

I did not amuse him with my manu- 
script, over which I knew he would have 
pished and pshawed, but I opened the 
great volume and placed it before him at a 
distant table, whither I carried the candle. 

"Shall I sing it, sir 1" I inquired. "/ 
know it without the notes." 

He motioned me to begin, and I sang it 
through just as I had done to myself — -just 
as I was able so seldom to sing to him — - 



OUR INVITATION. 323 

with my very soul making melody through 
my lips. 

When I had done I looked towards Herr 
Droigel. Unmindful of macaroni, he was 
gazing at the text. 

" Oh, thou false Mozart, to have served 
me such a trick !" he cried, — " Mozart, 
whom I worship ; who stands thu^d only 
amongst the musicians I adore ! Thou 
faithless Mozart, to thy turns of expression, 
to thy marvellous melodies, to thy simple 
surprises I could have sworn, I should have 
said, so long as hearing remained with me. 
JBut here is something which being yours is 
not yours, which comes stealing to me 
through the darkness, saying, ' Droigel, 
here is an air you are ignorant of, and that 
you should know.' Annie, you smg that 
melody divinely. Come and let me embrace 
you, my child." 

Which it is right to say was entu-ely a 
fagon de purler on the part of my in- 
structor. If ever I went near- him after 



324 HOME, SWEET HOME. 

such a command, he merely took two of 
my fingers and squeezed them. 

On the present occasion we went through 
this ceremony solemnly ; then after wdping- 
his eyes, he said to me, " I forgot to tell 
you a piece of news that will please you. 
We, you and I, are invited to a grand 
party." 

" To a grand party !" I repeated, in amaze- 
ment. I had heard of such things, but had 
never been asked to one in my life. 

*' Yes, where my Annie will have the 
chance of meeting a select company if she 
likes to go." 

" Tell me all about it," I entreated, my 
cheeks aglow, my head on fire. 

" There is nothing more to tell. We are 
asked to Sir Brooks' for the twenty-sixth." 

" Su- Brooks what T \ asked. 

" Sir Brooks himself," he answered. 

Later on in life, I discovered Herr 
Droigel, clever as he was, never could 
master the fact that in England the proper 



OUR INVITATION. 32^ 



names of knights and baronets are not 
pronounced without a Christian name pre- 
ceding them. 

The " Sir Brooks" we were invited to 
visit was, in our idiom, Sir Thomas Brooks, 
Baronet, of No. , Park Lane. 



END OF VOL. 11. 



LONDOK: 

8ATILL, EDWABDS AND CO., PBIKTEBS, CHAND08 8TBKE7, 

COVENT GAEDEir.